Covid testing van comes to town
A MOBILE unit is visiting Kingswood every week as part of the drive to trace coronavirus cases.
The specially-equipped van gives people the option of either collecting a testing kit to take home or to take a test with help from trained staff, for people unfamiliar with the process.
The government is encouraging everyone over the age of 16 without Covid-19 symptoms to make regular twice-weekly testing, using rapid home test kits, part of their routine.
The testing scheme, along with the vaccine roll-out, local contact tracing and continued hygiene and social distancing, is seen as key to keeping safe as lockdown restrictions are eased.
South Gloucestershire Council has already made its libraries, into collection points for home testing kits, which can be picked up during staffed opening hours.
The testing van will be in Regent Street near Iceland Foods every Saturday from 2-5pm.
It will also be atCadbury Heath Community Centre every Tuesday , Fountain Square ,Staple Hill, every Wednesday and and Asda, Longwell Green, every Thursday, all of these from 9am to midday.
The scheme is separate from testing facilities for people with symptoms, which are located at Cleve Rugby Club’s car park at the Hayfields in Cossham Street, Mangotsfield.
Case rates in South Gloucestershire continue to be low, with 38 cases in the district recorded over the seven days to May 12 – a rate of 13.3 per 100,000 people – but with another new variant starting to spread, people are being urged to continue to test.
Council director of public health Sara Blackmore said: “Testing is a really important tool that is helping us to manage Covid-19. Every case we can identify helps us stop the spread and bring the virus further under control. That is why we are so keen to make testing available to everyone; by taking the tests to our communities so that they can take part in the programme and do their part to keep themselves and those around them as safe as possible.”
Home testing involves swabbing the tonsils and nostrils putting the swab into a liquid, which is placed on a strip which produces a result within 30 minutes. Testing has been carried out by secondary school-aged children since March but everyone in England over the age of 16 is now being encouraged to take on twice a week.
There were three deaths with Covid-19 recorded in South Glos over the four weeks to May 15, two in care homes and one in hospital. So far this year, 144 people have died with coronavirus in the area.
The NHS in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire has announced plans to carry out extra operations and outpatient appointments this summer in an attempt to restore routine care after the pandemic.