Rapid-result Covid testing launches in Aylesbury and High Wycombe
Pilot scheme for those without symptoms aims to help drive down transmission rates.
Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms, so they could be spreading the disease without knowing it.
Buckinghamshire is now rolling out lateral flow tests, provided by NHS Test and Trace, where people can get a result within an hour.
The scheme is part of a new pilot to enable local public health leaders to start testing people who are leaving home to go to work or volunteer and are public facing. It aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus in the highest risk areas.
Rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests are a new type of technology, which provide results within an hour, and will be used to test people without symptoms. No laboratory is required to process the test.
The whole testing process, including registration, should take less than 30 minutes. The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.
Once you have handed in your swab you can leave the test centre. You will receive a text or email with your test results: Negative - Covid-19 was not detected, Positive – Covid-19 was detected, or Void – the test did not work.
Testing is available from Monday February 8 for asymptomatic individuals - people who are leaving home to go to work or volunteer and are public facing.
In Bucks, lateral tests are available at Vale Retail Park in Aylesbury (opposite B&Q) and at the Buckinghamshire Council Offices in Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe.
For more information on how to get a test, visit www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/bookarapidtest/
Gareth Williams, cabinet member for Communities and Public Health said: “Lateral flow testing is an easy and practical way to help keep our frontline workers and those they come into contact with safe. It is essential that we do everything in our power to break the chain of transmission.”
"It’s important to remember that, even with a negative test result, you will still need to take the same safety measures – hands, face, space - as you may pick up the virus after leaving the test site.”
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “Around one in three people have the virus without symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.
“I’m delighted that Buckinghamshire are working with us to roll out community testing, and I look forward to seeing the results.”
Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “NHS Test and Trace continues to play a leading role in the fight against Covid-19. Increased community testing is a vital additional tool at our disposal to help identify those who are infected and infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease.
“The work of Buckinghamshire will be essential in driving down transmission rates. I urge all those living in areas where community testing is offered to come forward and get tested.”
Efforts to find people without symptoms work hand in hand with the existing free testing service for those with symptoms. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.