Rapid coronavirus tests offered to people in North Somerset
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Rapid coronavirus tests will be offered to people across North Somerset next week to try to curb the spread of the virus.
Critical workers and volunteers in roles which bring them into contact with people in the community are being targeted first, with the offer of weekly slots.
The aim is to support support people who cannot work from home in the current lockdown as they carry out key services including childcare, looking after vulnerable people, transport and essential shopping.
Community testing to find residents who have Covid-19 with no symptoms can help to prevent the virus from spreading.
The first testing site will launch at Somerset Hall, in Portishead, on Monday (January 18). It will be open seven days a week from 9am-5pm for pre-booked appointments.
Slots can be booked now by logging on to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/bookrapidtest
Details of a second site are due to be announced soon.
North Somerset Council’s executive member for health, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “Being able to offer rapid Covid tests to people without symptoms is another tool that will help us in our fight against coronavirus.
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“I hope critical workers who have to be out in the community during lockdown will welcome and take up this offer for testing.
"We know around one in three people who are infected with Covid have no symptoms, and I’m sure no one wants to inadvertently spread the infection.
“By taking a test you could be saving a life as you reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.”
Critical workers not already part of national testing programmes who are encouraged to book these tests include health and social care staff, early years and nursery workers, funeral directors, crematorium and cemetery staff, bus and taxi drivers, staff in essential shops, and volunteers providing services during the pandemic such as food banks, or the North Somerset Together network.
Anyone who tests positive using a rapid test must isolate immediately and take a second test to confirm the result. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Anyone who gets a negative result must continue to follow the national guidelines.
North Somerset rapid testing is for people aged 16 and over. Younger people should be able to access tests through the national schools programme, which is currently being established.
Community testing is different to the tests already available to anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus.
People with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate and book a Covid-19 test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.