Everyone over the age of 16 without Covid-19 symptoms is now being encouraged to take twice weekly rapid (lateral flow) tests, and there are more and more ways to take part.
Testing is a central pillar, alongside the continued roll-out of the vaccine, and effective local contact tracing including supporting those who need to self-isolate. Together these steps, combined with individual’s following the guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene, and face coverings will help us along the road map out of restrictions and enable us to live safely with the coronavirus into the future.
Students in secondary schools, as well as staff in primary, secondary and childcare settings, have been taking regular rapid Covid-19 tests since March. This offer of regular rapid testing has now been extended to everyone in England over the age of 16.
Taking the test is simple, with results in 30 minutes. After taking the test, you are then required to register the result via the NHS website or by calling 119. The NHS has produced a video showing how to take a rapid test at home, which you can view online here nhs.uk – NHS – A guide to COVID-19 self testing (Rapid Lateral Flow Test) | Facebook.
By making testing part of your routine, twice a-week, you will help to identify cases of Covid-19 which may otherwise not be caught before people unwittingly spread the virus, which is still present in our communities.
There are now many ways to get hold of the tests to take at home. They come with simple instructions, but you can also see a video online that shows you how to take the test and how to register the result.
Test kits can be ordered online by visiting Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and these are normally delivered the next day.
From Tuesday 4 May you will also be able to collect them, during staffed hours, from the following South Gloucestershire libraries:
- Bradley Stoke
- Cadbury Heath
- Emersons Green
- Staple Hill
The Council will also provide a mobile offer, launching in the first half of May, which will visit sites across the district to make testing kits available for collection and, for those who may not have taken a test before, the opportunity to have assistance from trained staff in taking a test on site. The mobile offer will visit a number of areas regularly, including rural areas such as Hawkesbury, Marshfield, Severn Beach and Pucklechurch, as well as communities in Thornbury, Charfield, Cadbury Heath, Emersons Green and Patchway. We will confirm full details of the times and locations on our website soon.
A significant number of pharmacies across South Gloucestershire are now making testing kits available for collection and you can find details of these online at the NHS website.
You will be able to collect kits from our site at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre, where you are also able to take a test on site if you need assistance or prefer not to take it at home. You will be able to book a test appointment if you prefer, but this is not essential. To book, please visit our website at Book a Covid-19 rapid test – for people without coronavirus symptoms | BETA – South Gloucestershire Council (southglos.gov.uk).
The rapid testing site at Kingswood Leisure Centre is closing after Friday 30 April as the centre re-opens to the public. The Yate Parish Hall site will remain open until Wednesday 5 May for on-site testing and kit collection.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Director of Public Health, Sara Blackmore, said: “Testing is a vital tool for all of us in managing Covid 19. Every case we can identify helps us stop the spread and bring the virus further under control.
“There are three central pillars to the work we will all need to do over the coming months so that we can live safely with Covid into the future. In addition to taking up regular testing, we are of course encouraging everyone who is offered the vaccine to take it as it is the most effective way to stop infection and transmission of the virus. Our local contact tracing service is also proving very effective in reaching out to those who do test positive to make sure they know how to self-isolate and have access to any support, including the Self-Isolation Payment, that they need to keep our community safe.
“As testing is now being encouraged universally, there are now more and more ways for people to get testing kits to do at home, just as our students and teaching staff, for example, have been doing now for several weeks.
“I want to encourage everyone who can, to make regular rapid covid testing part of your new routine. We cannot be complacent because we know that the virus is still in our communities and people are still getting sick. We can, however, help to reduce this and we can, by getting vaccinated, testing and isolating if required to, learn to live safely with Covid.”
South Gloucestershire Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adults and Housing, Cllr Ben Stokes, said: “Testing remains a really important means for us to be able to find the Covid cases that are still infecting people and still causing harm. The vaccine is making a huge difference, as are people self-isolating when they need to. But testing is something we all need to do regularly to really help keep the virus in check.
“It is easier than ever to get test kits to do at home and I am particularly pleased that using our mobile model, we are able to take these kits into some of our more rural communities to make sure that no one misses out.
“The great efforts by everyone have helped us to drive down the new infection rate and I know that by continuing to follow the rules that are in place for all of our safety, we can keep up that momentum and stay safe into the future.”