THE Royal Borough is “prepared and ready” to commence surge testing if cases spike in the area, a health chief confirmed.

Across Berkshire, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell, and now Slough have and will commence surge testing in specific areas to identify the Delta variant, which was originally detected in India.

Surge testing is increased testing in specific areas and involves a specialist team knocking door-to-door who test people even if they don’t have Covid symptoms.

This has been triggered in those boroughs as they have seen their Covid-19 spike in recent weeks, primarily driven by the Delta variant – which has become the dominant variant across the UK.

READ MORE: Surge testing approved by UK government for Slough

While cases have increased in those areas, infections in the Royal Borough on the other hand as remained relatively low and stable, staying below 20 cases a week per 100,000 population – which is way below the national average.

Royal Borough Observer: The Royal Borough is way below the national and regional averageThe Royal Borough is way below the national and regional average

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, councillor Stuart Carroll, lead member for health as well as being an epidemiologist and on the UK vaccine taskforce, said the borough is “not in a position” to undertake surge testing due to the low infection rate – but it is “ready to go” if cases spike locally.

He said: “We have been for a couple of weeks liaising with Public Health England and the government on co-ordinating what would be needed to pull through surge testing and those conversations have been had in terms of the infrastructure requirements and the operational imperatives.

“If we do need to surge test, we’re good to go.”

Royal Borough Observer: Other local authorities such as Reading have already undertaken surge testing as cases rise rapidly in those areasOther local authorities such as Reading have already undertaken surge testing as cases rise rapidly in those areas

Cllr Carroll added: “We have not moved to a situation where we need surge testing itself, but we are prepared and ready to utilise it should we start seeing a real spike in cases.”

The decision to use surge testing will be based on the data and trends happening in the Royal Borough, which Cllr Carroll said the council and the public health team will keep a ‘close eye’ on.

The health lead explained it’s “very difficult” to pinpoint the reason why the Royal Borough has a low infection rate compared with its neighbours at this point but thinks it could be due to residents “strongly” adhering to public health protocols, a high vaccine rate, and people getting tested on a regular basis.

READ MORE: 39 Berkshire postcodes see barely any Covid cases in past month

The government recently announced the over 25s cohort can book a vaccine.

Cllr Carroll urged everyone to get their jab as soon as possible in order to protect themselves, their loved ones, and everyone else, as well as curtail transmission.