Council ups Covid testing with infection rate ‘incredibly high’

Covid test station

Lambeth council is expanding its coronavirus community testing scheme to support local people who have to leave home during the current lockdown, especially those who are must leave for work reasons.

The infection rate in the borough is “incredibly high,” the council said.

Its community testing for people without any Covid symptoms provides free and quick tests that people are asked to take weekly to help stop the spread of the virus.

Sites are now open at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton and Brockwell Park close to Herne Hill.

A new site at Lilian Baylis Technology School in Kennington is due to open on Monday, 1 February. A fourth is due to open at Streatham Library on Wednesday, 3 February.

The site at the Brixton Windmill will close to ensure a better borough-wide spread of locations.

Appointments must be booked online

More than 9,000 tests have so far been carried out in Lambeth. The council says that, with more sites and longer opening hours, it has the potential to carry out up to 10,000 rapid tests each week.

It said this work remains a high priority with the borough’s infection rate extremely high at 565.7 infections per 100,000 people as of Monday (25 January).

Cllr Jim Dickson, the council’s joint cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Coronavirus infection rates in the borough are heading in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go and rates remain incredibly high.

“The pressure on the NHS is huge and we must all do our bit to stop the spread of the virus.

“So I welcome the expansion of community testing and ask that people who are exempt from the stay-at-home restrictions for work and other reasons please get tested on a weekly basis.

“It’s a quick, free and easy test with results back very quickly.”

What to take to the appointment

  • 1. Confirmation of your booking – the confirmation email on your mobile device or printed out
  • 2. A mobile device to scan a QR or bar code on the test. Devices available if you do not have your own
  • 3. A face covering (unless you are exempt)
  • 4. You may also want to bring a bottle of water, as water cannot be provided at test sites, neither are there any toilet facilities at the test sites.

How the test works

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. You can do the swab yourself, but there will be trained staff available if you need support. You can watch this video for a detailed explanation of the procedure.

The swab will be processed and analysed. Once the test is done, the swab is discarded.

The rapid test is called a “lateral flow test”. It does not need to be sent away to a lab and provides results within an hour.

Getting test results

Results are sent to you the same day via text message and/or email that you register on the day of the test. The results are usually available within an hour, and sometimes sometimes as quickly as 30 minutes.

You do not need to self-isolate while waiting for the test results, unless you develop symptoms of Covid-19.

Positive results

You, and anyone you live with, now has a legal duty to self-isolate immediately if you get a positive result. You may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace or the council and asked for information to help the NHS alert your close contacts.

If you are out or at work when you get a positive result you should make your way home, avoiding using public transport if at all possible.

If you are at work, you should inform your line manager immediately so that they can initiate their organisation’s risk management plan – cleaning your work station for example.

People who have Covid-19 symptoms still need to book a test through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

Symptoms are a high temperature (fever), a new continuous cough, and loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

The government website has full guidance on how to self-isolate.

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