The first day of our surge testing to detect any cases of the variant of concern, first identified in Manaus, Brazil (P.1), has seen around 2,500 people attend the community surge testing units at Stoke Gifford Parkway Park & Ride and the Coach Park at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway. Additionally, more than 3,200 test kits have been collected from our community collect and drop sites at Little Stoke and Patchway Community Centres.
In order to make the testing accessible to all within the specified area, a further three collect and drop sites will be open from tomorrow (Tuesday 2 March), every day, from 9:00AM – 5:00PM, until the planned end of the programme, on Sunday 7 March, located at:
- Baileys Court Activity Centre, Baileys Court Road, Bradley Stoke BS32 8B
- Bradley Stoke Jubilee Centre, Savages Wood Road BS32 8HL (this site will not be open on Friday 5 March)
- Coniston Community Centre, The Parade, Patchway BS34 5LP
We are encouraging residents who live in five postcode sectors, who are aged 16 and over and who are asymptomatic (without symptoms of Covid-19), to come forward for testing, as well as people who travel into that area for work or to visit someone they are in a support bubble with.
The identified postcode areas fall within Bradley Stoke, Patchway and Little Stoke and are different to those that were part of the community surge testing programme which took place between 7 and 21 February. There is no connection between the two programmes.
The postcode sectors are:
- BS32 0
- BS32 8
- BS32 9
- BS34 5
- BS34 6
Surge testing allows us to find and isolate any positive cases of coronavirus, to help break the chain of transmission, by finding asymptomatic cases and prompting people to self-isolate. Positive results will be followed up with genome sequencing to identify the precise strain so that we can learn more about the disease.
The one-off testing will use PCR tests, which are analysed in laboratories, rather than lateral flow tests (also known as rapid tests).
Sara Blackmore, Director of Public Health at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “I want to thank everyone who has come forward for testing already and encourage all of those eligible in the target postcode areas to take part this week.
“Testing is a key part of the Road Map that will take us out of Covid restrictions and our priority right now is to make sure that we also identify any cases of the Brazilian variant so that we can protect our residents.
“This programme is precautionary, but the more data we have, the better we can understand and tackle the virus and of course every case among asymptomatic people that we can find and isolate, the lower our transmission rates will be and we can avoid inadvertently passing on Covid-19 to others.
“We do appreciate the challenge of undertaking an additional testing programme and want to thank you for your support as we continue to work together to protect our communities from Covid-19.
“The take up on just our first day of surge testing has been really encouraging and we are keen to make this as accessible as we can, which is why we have opened more Collect & Drop sites where people can pick up test kits for themselves, their household and potentially for other vulnerable residents.
“We want to emphasise that if you are collecting kits for others that you pass those on and take them back safely and that you return them to where you collected them as soon as possible.
“We would also remind people that this programme is in addition to the ongoing availability of testing if you have symptoms (please book through the national booking portal either online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119) and regular rapid asymptomatic testing for essential workers. This additional action will enable closer monitoring and work to reduce further transmission of the virus.”
If you live, attend school or work in a school within the specified surge testing area and you test positive from a lateral flow test, also known as a rapid test, you are asked to follow this up with a full PCR test. This will enable the sample to be processed in a laboratory for genomic sequencing which will check for the P.1 variant. You can book this test online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 – please do not visit one of our surge testing sites for this follow-up test.
Notes to Editors:
- Information about the Surge Testing programme will be updated on our website at www.southglos.gov.uk/surgetesting
- Public Health England has identified three cases of the Variant of Concern first identified in Manaus, Brazil (P.1), two are from one household in South Gloucestershire with a history of travel to Brazil and there is a third, currently unlinked case in England.
The cases in South Gloucestershire were rapidly followed up by PHE’s Health Protection Team and cases and their contacts identified and tested. The case that had travelled to Brazil has been isolating at home with their household since returning to the UK.
The full Public Health England press notice relating to the P1 Variant can be found on their website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/confirmed-cases-of-covid-19-variants-identified-in-uk