COVID testing for those not showing symptoms will be rolled out at a New Forest leisure centre this week.
Totton Health & Leisure Centre on Water Lane is one of 11 spots across Hampshire which have been approved for asymptomatic testing today (Monday).
The six-week scheme is aimed at those without symptoms of coronavirus who regularly leave home to work, and are not covered by an existing workplace testing scheme.
Tests can be booked online 24 hours in advance through www.hants.gov.uk/testing-no-symptoms. Appointments should take no more than 30 minutes.
Those working from home or shielding should not attend, and anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste – should book a test online or call 119.
The county’s health boss, Cllr Judith Grajewski, said the launch was a hugely positive and important development in the response to the pandemic.
“Around one in three people with Covid-19 display no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing. Community testing will help prevent transmission and break chains of infection, by identifying more cases quickly and ensuring that people are supported to self-isolate.
She added: “Our teams at leisure centres, libraries and community centres have been working tirelessly to prepare their sites ready for the start of testing from this week, and I would urge everyone who has to leave home for work to come forward for regular testing to protect themselves, their loved ones and our communities.”
Cllr Grajewski reassured those looking to make an appointment that stringent infection control measures were in place.
“The layout at each site has been carefully designed to ensure people can move around them safely to prevent any possible spread of the virus. Furthermore, social distancing will be maintained throughout the testing process and trained staff will be in attendance on site, to guide people through the testing process and ensure that tests are completed safely and effectively.”
How asymptomatic testing works:
- Tests can be booked online 24 hours in advance through any district website or on the county council website and appointments should take no more than 30 minutes. Anyone who cannot book online should contact their district council, who will be able to book a test on your behalf.
- You will be asked not to eat anything for 30 minutes prior to your test.
- You will take a lateral flow test, which involves a self-administered swab of the nose and throat, under the guidance of trained staff.
- Results will be confirmed after leaving the testing site by text message sent direct to your mobile (or to a nominated mobile phone belonging to a family member or friend, if you do not have your own).
- You will be able to book two tests per week between three and five days after your first test throughout the six-week programme.
- Anyone receiving a positive test result will need to follow self-isolation guidance, but will not need to book a follow-up test.