Testing for coronavirus is going to be the cornerstone of our transition back to normal life, Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, has declared.
With schools and colleges opening up again, and restrictions set to gradually ease over coming weeks and months – subject to the latest data at the time – testing is going to be a vital part of keeping case numbers down, he explains.
“Over coming weeks and months, we are going to see a lot more movement of people – students returning to education, more people getting back to work, the loosening of restrictions on how many people we can be in contact with, and in time shops, cafes, and other businesses reopening.
“Coronavirus thrives on socialisation, which is why we see case numbers fall during lockdown, when movement and socialising is restricted.
“Taking a test regularly – the rapid tests that give results within the hour – is going to be an absolutely vital part of our way out of the coronavirus pandemic.
“And there will be a range of ways to access these lateral flow, rapid tests:
“People are able now to order rapid, lateral flow tests to take at home. They’re available to order from the NHS online for home delivery, or they can be collected from national NHS testing sites having booked a collection first. These home test kits will quickly tell you whether you are likely to be carrying the virus, and provide guidance on what to do next depending on the result.
“Rapid testing is already available at fixed and mobile sites across Devon, and more sites will be set up in coming weeks. People can book tests at our community testing sites via devon.cc/testing. These are for people who show no signs of having the virus.
“Remember, one in every three people with coronavirus do not show symptoms, and could therefore be spreading the virus unknowingly. To beat COVID-19, we need to stop it spreading.
“Local community testing sites are available to anyone who work or whose volunteering requires them to be in contact with other people. We are also encouraging parents of secondary school and college-age students to use the community testing centres, as well as people in support bubbles. The tests are very quick and easy to take and results are texted or emailed back to you within the hour.”
Rapid test kits to take at home are available to collect via national NHS testing sites in Devon, (having booked them first), but are not yet available to collect from local Community Testing sites.