EVERYONE in England is being encouraged to take twice-weekly coronavirus tests to help identify and suppress the spread of new variants of the virus.
While households with school-age children are already self-testing twice a week, and with many people already taking regular tests at their workplace, the Government has said that – from tomorrow (Friday 9 April) – it will be extending its testing programme to ensure that everyone in the country has access to regular lateral flow device (LFD) tests.
In Leicester, the easiest way to get tested is by using one of the city council’s rapid testing centres. People with no symptoms of coronavirus can pop in for an LFD test twice a week – and have their results texted to their phone within half an hour.
From tomorrow (Friday), testing kits can also be ordered online from the Government’s website – www.gov.uk/coronavirus – and can be picked up, free of charge, from a limited number of participating pharmacies. Local pharmacies taking part in the scheme can be found here
Packs of tests – each containing seven LFD tests – can also be collected from the city council’s rapid testing sites during normal opening hours. Anyone collecting the packs will be invited to take a supervised COVID test so that they can learn the correct technique before self-testing at home.
People self-testing at home are required to report every result to NHS Test & Trace on the same day that they take the test. This can be done online or by calling 119.
Anyone who gets a positive result from an LFD test is now required to book a follow-up PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm their result. This now applies to people who take the rapid test at one of the city council’s testing sites, as well as to those who self-test at home. The confirmatory test can be booked by calling 119.
People are reminded that the rapid tests should only be used by those with no symptoms of coronavirus. Anyone who develops symptoms of the virus, regardless of age, must self-isolate and book a PCR test by calling 119.
Jo Allen, the city council’s Covid Response programme manager, said: “We’ve got lots of capacity at our rapid testing sites, so I’d encourage people to use their local facility twice a week to make sure they’re not carrying the virus without realising it.
“It’s important to remember that as many as 1 in 3 people with COVID have no symptoms and feel completely well.
“Testing at our centres takes half an hour or less, and the results are registered with the national test and trace system. And because our staff are on hand to offer assistance, it can often be easier than self-testing at home.”
Leicester’s rapid testing sites can be found at: Fosse Neighbourhood Centre (Mantle Road LE3 5HG), Coleman Neighbourhood Centre (Balderstone Close LE5 4ES), Eyres Monsell Community Centre (Hillsborough Rd, LE2 9PQ), Adult Education College (Belvoir Street, LE1 6QL), Tudor Community Centre (Bewcastle Grove, LE4 2JW) and Hamilton Library (Maidenwell Avenue, LE5 1BL). Opening hours are 8am-7pm from Monday to Friday and 10am-5pm at weekends.
Anyone who tests positive, or has symptoms of coronavirus, is required by law to isolate at home for 10 days – with everyone else in the household or bubble staying at home for 10 days too.