Making rapid testing for COVID-19 part of your regular routine couldn’t be any easier and with further easing of restrictions earlier this week, the benefits for everyone are clear.
Last week the council launched its Mobile Rapid Testing Service which travels across the county offering free quick-turnaround rapid (lateral flow) tests and giving out free home testing kits. In the first two weeks the Rapid Testing Van has visited markets in Winslow, Princes Risborough, Wendover and Aylesbury. The team has carried out 130 on-site tests and given out over 1,300 home test kits.
Kate Mulhearn, the COVID-19 Rapid Testing Programme Lead at Buckinghamshire Council said: “It’s great to be out and about in Bucks, meeting people and talking about the benefits of testing. During lockdown we could only provide tests to those who had to leave home for work but now free tests are available to everyone.”
Over coming days, the Rapid Testing Vans will be visiting locations in Chesham, Aylesbury, Amersham, Burnham and Wendover. A rolling calendar of dates and venues is being planned and will be promoted online and via social media.
As people start to go back to more of their usual activities including meeting indoors and in larger groups the potential for COVID-19 to circulate and spread increases. However, carrying out a rapid test twice a week, as recommended in government guidance, helps to keep track of any cases, particularly where people are infected but do not have symptoms and so are unaware that they may be infecting others.
Kate Mulhearn continued:”It’s hugely important that we all test regularly so we can meet up safely and keep our local businesses open. It’s free and easy to test. It doesn’t hurt and gives you the reassurance that you are not inadvertently spreading the virus to others. Our friendly team is here to answer your questions and to give support. We’d recommend anyone taking a test for the first time does it here with one of our trained staff on hand to talk you through it. You can then take away two boxes of kits to use at home.”
Dan Flecknoe, Public Health Consultant at Buckinghamshire Council said: “Rapid testing is one of the best tools we have for keeping tabs on infection levels locally. We would encourage everyone who is starting to move around more freely and coming into contact with others on a more regular basis to start testing frequently.”
It’s simple and easy to get a rapid test. In addition to the Rapid Testing Van you can visit one of their fixed testing sites with results available in less than 30 minutes. Alternatively you can pick up home testing kits from both the mobile van, fixed sites or your local pharmacy. For more information, visit their website: https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/get-tested-for-covid-19/get-a-rapid-test/
Dan Flecknoe continued: “With headlines focusing on news of different variants of COVID-19 spreading quickly across areas of the country, it is more important than ever that we all do our bit to help stop the spread. Remember, even if you’ve been vaccinated you should still test regularly to guard against variants that vaccines may be less able to protect against. The data shows that on the whole the vaccine protects against serious illness but if infected you can still pass the virus on to others.”
Anyone who tests positive following a rapid test should immediately self-isolate and arrange a confirmatory PCR test. Lateral flow tests are designed for those who have no symptoms. If you feel unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms you should stay at home and arrange a PCR test.
Did you know you can request a free visit from the Mobile Rapid Testing Service if you are holding a public event? Their friendly team can help with testing and answer questions. For more information call: 01296 585724.