The Rapid Testing programme, which offers quick turnaround Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) for Covid-19 is expanding, with a new facility being set up at Kingswood Leisure Centre from Wednesday 27 January.
Rapid Testing is a vital tool in helping to break the chain of transmission of the virus. They are for people without symptoms and help detect cases of Covid-19 that we would not otherwise know about.
The new testing service will run five days-a-week and the Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre facility will also now open at weekends, beginning on Saturday 23 January. This will allow us to meet demand and offer flexibility to people working in critical roles to get tested weekly at a time to fit around their jobs.
Testing in Bradley Stoke has also been extended and will remain in place for the duration of the initial six-week period of Rapid Testing, allowing critical workers to book ahead for the six-week period. The Kingswood facility will be in place for at the least the next two weeks and we are looking into a potential third location, to ensure that those who we want to get tested can do so as close to home as possible.
Our priority for this testing are those who cannot work from home and who have to be in contact with colleagues and the public in order to do their jobs. Many of these individuals are providing vital services to the community during the lockdown and we would like them to take a test weekly. Testing is also open to those who live and work, in the Kingswood and Bradley Stoke areas, even if they are working from home.
A range of other workplace testing programmes are already in place nationally for other groups, such as people working in care homes and those staff attending school during the Lockdown. This programme is designed to complement those arrangements and the critical workers we are encouraging to come forward for testing include:
- Personal carers, social workers and health visitors
- Early Years settings staff
- Emergency Services personnel, such as police, ambulance and fire officers
- Supermarket staff
- Funeral Directors and crematorium staff
- Bus and taxi drivers.
The testing is also available to people working for local businesses which are able to safely and legally continue trading during the lockdown; to teachers and primary care staff who are not able to access testing through a workplace scheme; and those in the voluntary sector providing services during the pandemic such as food banks. We are also encouraging those who are active in their communities providing help to people who are shielding or needing to self-isolate.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Housing, Cllr Ben Stokes, said: “As we continue to roll out this scheme, it is important to remember that it is designed to find people who may be infected, but who are not showing any symptoms, who may otherwise unknowingly pass on the disease to others who may become seriously unwell.
“Whilst a positive Rapid Test result means that someone is very likely to have the infection, a negative test does not mean they don’t have it. Everyone, whether they take a test or not, whether they receive a negative result or not, may still be carrying the illness and be able to pass the infection on to others.
“After everything we have all been through and sacrificed, and even as the vaccine is being rolled out, we must stay the course and all of us must continue to follow the lockdown rules.
“The virus can only travel if we take it with us, which is why we need to stay at home and remember Hands Face Space if we do need to go out for essential reasons.”
South Gloucestershire Director of Public Health, Sara Blackmore, said: “With this extension of the programme, we are making Rapid Testing more widely available and reducing the amount of travelling people need to do to keep us all safe.
“We are keen to test our critical workers and people living and working in Kingswood and Bradley Stoke. More testing facilities are being planned as we don’t want those people who are otherwise safely staying at home, who live in other parts of the district, travelling long distances just to take these tests.”
If you would like to book a Rapid Covid-19 test at either Bradley Stoke or Kingswood Leisure centres, please visit our website: www.southglos.gov.uk/rapidtesting