TRUDI Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council, is urging all families and households with children to take a free Covid-19 test twice a week to help stop the spread of the virus.
Rapid ‘lateral flow’ testing detects cases quickly – in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases and their households can start to self-isolate for ten days immediately they receive a positive test result.
This can be the difference between children being able to stay in school, or a class being sent home due to an outbreak.
Trudi Grant said: “It’s fantastic news that from this week, parent/carers and anyone with childminding responsibilities can either order a free Covid-19 test online or collect a test from one of our testing sites based across Somerset. We urge everyone to take up this opportunity and test twice a week to help our fight against Covid.
“Testing regularly, even if you don’t have symptoms, helps to uncover positive cases early. Even finding only small numbers of positive cases through this regular testing can really help keep the virus in check because every case we find prevents a whole chain of transmission with multiple people in it.
“I would encourage all eligible households to take up the offer of twice weekly rapid testing – it’s quick and painless and will really help us keep infection rates down and our children and young people in school.”
If anyone does a ‘lateral flow test’ at home and gets a positive result, you should book a further test at a local Covid testing site to confirm the result. Also, anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should still book a PCR test online or by calling 119.
Trudi Grant added: “Even if you are vaccinated and even if you self-test and receive a negative result, it’s still vital we all continue to abide by the rules to prevent Covid-19 spreading.
“The main form of defence against catching and spreading Covid-19 is still ‘hands, face, space’ – remember to wash your hands regularly, try not to touch your face unless you have clean hands, wear a face covering if you can and keep your distance from others.
“And even if vaccinated, it’s still important you take part in twice-weekly home testing.”
Free ‘lateral flow’ test kits are available to collect from test sites across Somerset between set times. To find your nearest Somerset test collection site, visit somerset.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/ and enter your postcode.