PEOPLE with coronavirus symptoms have been urged by the leader of Hampshire County Council to keep trying to book a test despite delays in the system.
Cllr Keith Mans, who represents Brockenhurst, issued a statement today (Thursday) to say that although the level of infection remains “relatively low” in the county, anyone potentially affected should make every effort to secure a test to help stop the spread.
However, he appealed to people without symptoms not to add to the pressure, and urged the government to allow greater local control to fix the problem.
Hampshire residents booking a test will generally be offered one at either the regional testing site, currently located in Portsmouth, or at one of a number of local testing locations across the county.
Three mobile testing units can be diverted to where there is greatest need, said HCC, and it was also looking at the best options for developing public walk-in testing facilities.
Cllr Mans said: “We know that due to high demand, some Hampshire residents are experiencing delays in securing a test via the national booking system, or getting their results back, but it’s imperative that anyone with symptoms absolutely must come forward to get tested as this will help to stop the spread of the virus.
“It is equally important that those who do not have symptoms refrain from booking a test as this is pushing demand higher than it needs to be and could limit the opportunity for people who really need one.
“A recent survey at testing sites suggests around a quarter of people who have accessed tests did not have symptoms.”
Cllr Mans added: “While the number of confirmed cases in Hampshire remains relatively low compared with the England average, the delays some people are experiencing is a serious concern, and we therefore want to do all we can to support local residents to secure a test quickly and easily.
“We will continue therefore to urge government for greater local control over local Test and Trace capacity.”
HCC advice for residents is only to book a test if they experience the three main symptoms of the virus – a temperature, new continuous cough, or change or loss of taste or smell – or if advised by NHS Test and Trace.
It also said not to book a test if returning from a quarantined country unless displaying symptoms
An HCC spokesperson said residents having trouble booking should keep trying as more tests are made available throughout the day.
They added: “If you are offered a test a long distance from home (up to 75 miles), and you are not able to travel via private transport, consider continuing to self-isolate at home until a test more local to you becomes available.”
HCC is responsible with local partners for arranging testing locations. The provision of testing is led by the Department of Health and Social Care.
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