Demand for lateral flow tests 'outstripping' supply in north Norfolk

Pharmacies in north Norfolk

Pharmacies across north Norfolk have been running low on stocks of lateral flow tests as demand surges across the country. - Credit: Google Maps

Stocks of lateral flow tests are running low in pharmacies across north Norfolk while the rate of coronavirus infections in the district continues to climb. 

On Tuesday morning (January 4), this newspaper called a selection of pharmacies in the area. 

None of them - Cromer Pharmacy, Well in North Walsham and Willows Pharmacy in Aylsham - had any lateral flow tests (LFTs). 

Erin Horn looking in a mirror while taking a Lateral Flow Test as pupils return to school for the fi

A student taking a lateral flow test. - Credit: PA

Victoria New, a dispenser at Cromer Pharmacy, said: "We order them everyday but we don't always get guaranteed delivery. When we do get them they fly off the shelves. 

"Demand is higher than supply," she added. 

A member of staff at Well in North Walsham said the pharmacy had not had any LFTs since Christmas. 

"We've a lot of people asking for them. We have a sign on the door saying none in stock but some people still come in to ask if we've got any," the employee said. 

Lateral flow Covid tests have proved popular as people test before Christmas and New Year's celebrations

Demand for lateral flow tests has spiked after testing replaced self-isolation for contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases - Credit: PA

Lauren Seamons, deputy chief officer of Norfolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), which represents all 158 community pharmacies in the region, said: "What we're hearing is pharmacies are getting tests delivered but demand is outstripping supply as they can only order one box a day. 

"Hopefully demand will calm down soon," she said, adding that pharmacies are "doing their best at the moment". 

Cromer Library had been providing tests but has now run out, with stocks not expected to be replenished until mid-January. 

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Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, the NHS website showed that home delivery slots for lateral flow tests were unavailable. 

The surge in demand for tests comes as north Norfolk recorded almost 1,000 coronavirus infections in the seven days up to December 27. 

Figures from Public Health England show that the record number of daily cases in all of Norfolk's local authorities was broken each day for the last three days.  

The latest figures are also significantly higher than any day outside of December 2021. On December 29, there were 254 positive tests. 

The case rate in the seven days up to December 29 was 946.1 cases per 100,000 people. 

This was an increase of 47pc on the previous week, when the rate was 642.8.