As the country prepares to enter the fourth and final stage of the Government roadmap, with all current restrictions on social distancing eased on 19 July, Covid testing remains an important part of keeping us all safe.
With so much information and different messages being given all the time, it is understandable that some people might confused about what type of test they need to take and where they can get it.
- Anyone with Covid symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate, along with anyone who they live with. You should take a free PCR test which will confirm whether or not you have the virus. PCR tests can be ordered by phone or online and will be delivered direct to you. Alternatively you can visit a PCR testing site in Aylesbury or High Wycombe.
- If you have been contacted by NHS Test & Trace as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you should stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days in line with national guidance, (however in this situation, the people you live with do not have to self-isolate unless they are instructed otherwise). You can take a PCR test but a negative result does not remove the need to self-isolate. Financial support of up to £500 is available to those who have to isolate and are unable to work from home. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/test-and-trace-support-payment
- For people with NO symptoms (also known as being asymptomatic), rapid tests (Lateral Flow Tests) are freely available for everyone to take regular self-tests. The easiest way to do a rapid test is with a home-testing kit. These can be picked up from pharmacies or online. Buckinghamshire also has two fixed rapid testing sites in Aylesbury and High Wycombe. No appointment is necessary, you can just turn up to take a test and collect home test kits.
Remember, even if you have been vaccinated, you can still catch and spread Covid-19, sometimes without even knowing it.
While all individuals are encouraged to make rapid testing part of their everyday lives, teams in Buckinghamshire will be working with partners in the health, voluntary and community sector to ensure that those deemed to be most at risk are targeted directly. This includes:
- Those most likely to be infected with Covid-19 and to suffer serious illness
- Those less likely to take up the vaccine
- Those living in areas of higher transmission of the virus
The council operates two mobile rapid testing vans and pop-up home test collection sites which are travelling to different locations around the county to talk to communities about the importance of testing and to help make sure everyone has access to free home testing kits.
Carl Jackson, Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing (Public Health) said: “With cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 still on the rise both locally and nationally, it is vitally important that we all take responsibility and play our part in helping to stop the spread.
“Some people mistakenly think that if they’ve had their vaccine then they can’t catch the virus or spread it to others however no vaccine is 100 percent effective. Although vaccination greatly reduces the risk of catching and passing on the virus, a small proportion of vaccinated people will get infected and may pass it on to others. The vaccine is reducing the chances of becoming seriously ill if infected so it is still vital that everyone has their vaccine when called to do so.”
Cllr Jackson continued: “Our priority going forward is on ensuring that we are able to get out to all our local communities to spread the word of the importance of testing, how to do it and when. We are particularly focusing on those areas where infection rates may be higher, vaccine uptake may be lower and people are worried about the impact that a positive test could have on their lives.
“It is still important that the whole community takes this seriously and thinks about making rapid testing part of their everyday lives. As more of us are out and about in the community, the easiest way to keep on top of the spread of Covid-19 is to get into the habit of taking regular rapid tests. It’s quick, easy and is a vital part of helping to keep us all safe.”
Since the rapid testing sites were set up in Buckinghamshire more than 29,000 tests have been carried out and more than 33,000 home testing kits have been given out.
To find out more about rapid testing in Buckinghamshire visit our website.