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West Berkshire residents urged to retake PCR tests done at Newbury Showground after false negatives

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RESIDENTS who recently received negative PCR results from tests done at the Newbury Showground have been urged to retake the test after reports of false negative results.

The Newbury Weekly News and West Berkshire Council have received reports from local residents concerned over the accuracy of their negative test result from the site after testing positive from home tests and already displaying symptoms.

The council has said it passed the concerns on to the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) for further investigation, and the department has now confirmed that the Newbury Showground is one of a number of sites nationally that has been affected by false negatives.

The Newbury Showground testing site. (52275036)
The Newbury Showground testing site. (52275036)

The reason for the issue is currently unknown.

As a result, the council is recommending anyone who took a PCR test between October 3 and 12 at the showground which came back negative to take a retest, as well as any close contacts.

Executive member for health and wellbeing Graham Bridgman said: “We are aware there was an issue with some tests undertaken at Newbury Showground earlier this month, which has now been resolved.

“We would urge any residents that are concerned about their results to book another test as soon as possible so we can continue to prevent the spread of the virus across the district.

"Testing continues to remain important as we learn to live with Covid and anyone who has symptoms, or who has been in contact with someone who tests positive, should book a PCR test straightaway.

“We also strongly encourage the public to do twice weekly lateral flow testing.”

Over the past week, the Newbury Weekly News has taken calls from residents concerned that their coronavirus tests at the showground falsely came back negative, with some losing faith in the site.

Penwood resident Barbara Taylor took her grandson to a site in Andover following a negative test at the showground.

The result from Andover came back positive, with her grandchild already displaying symptoms of Covid – and Mrs Taylor’s daughter and son-in-law have now also tested positive.

Similarly, Karla Taylor – no relation – and her son both tested positive for Covid after a negative PCR test result from the showground site.

Both had received positive lateral flow tests, with Mrs Taylor going so far as to take four such tests from different boxes “just to make sure”.

Subsequent PCR tests at the showground returned negative results – but a later test at an Oxford site also came back positive.

Last week, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was investigating the matter and that there wasn’t yet any evidence of issues with the testing process, nor have any new variants been identified.

For further information on booking a PCR test, visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

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