A new Conservative led Wiltshire Council asymptomatic testing van will be on the roads this week, to support communities that may find it harder to access COVID-19 tests.
The van will be visiting various targeted communities, to offer free lateral flow tests and ensure no-one is missing the opportunity for regular testing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health, said:
We hope our asymptomatic testing van will improve the accessibility of COVID-19 testing for people who are not showing symptoms but may be carrying COVID-19, and help offer that extra protection and reassurance to our communities during autumn and winter, keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe."
Regularly taking a lateral flow test is one of the many tools at our disposal that I would encourage people to use to manage the risk to themselves and to others, alongside measures such as getting COVID-19 and flu vaccines when offered and making sure people self-isolate when required. We saw the impact testing had on the return to schools, helping to identify positive cases and reduce the spread and disruption to education, by removing any infected individuals from the classroom.
As we approach the winter months and with COVID-19 rates continuing to fluctuate in Wiltshire, it is particularly important that we all still do what we can to protect those who are most vulnerable. We also need to support the NHS and all health and care services during what is always a challenging time of year with the increase in demand they face.
Anyone who is asymptomatic can also collect free lateral flow tests at collection sites across the county, or order lateral flow test kit online or by calling 119, to be delivered to their home. The test collection sites around the county, including seven Wiltshire Council sites and many pharmacies, can be found on this map that includes opening hours and the status of the site.
People are being encouraged to continue testing themselves on days when they are more likely to catch or spread COVID-19, because around one in three people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms. Rapid lateral flow tests help to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can give the virus to others. People should take a rapid lateral flow test if they will be in a high risk situation that day, such as mixing with people in crowded indoor places or where there is limited fresh air, and before visiting someone who is at a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
If a lateral flow test result is positive, people need to self-isolate immediately and take a PCR test to confirm the result. PCR tests can be booked through the Government's test booking website.
People who have any symptoms of coronavirus should not use lateral flow tests. Symptoms include a high temperature, a new, persistent cough or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. Free testing continues to be available to everyone in Wiltshire who has COVID-19 symptoms, and people who show symptoms must book a test online or call 119.