This week sees the roll-out of more than 30 Portsmouth-based pharmacies further supporting the fight against coronavirus by offering community access to asymptomatic testing.
Around half of those involved now offer appointments for free-of-charge supervised asymptomatic testing onsite, and all involved become community collect sites for asymptomatic home test kits, now freely available to all adults.
Helen Atkinson, Director of Public Health Portsmouth City Council says: "Anyone without symptoms can now take free asymptomatic tests twice-weekly to help in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. This type of testing helps identify the one in three people who become infected but show no symptoms. The more people who get tested regularly, the greater our ability becomes to reduce the spread of infection.
"Working with our pharmacy partners, we've made it as easy as we can to enable everyone to get involved in testing when you don’t have symptoms. We've already set up the Somerstown Central test site, where you can book a test appointment or collect packs to do your own tests at home. Many local pharmacies are now offering these services too, and we'll soon have a mobile 'pop-up' collect service appearing around the city to make collecting home test kits even easier."
The coronavirus test sites at Eldon Road and Northarbour Road, which have been the location for afternoon pick-ups of asymptomatic home test kits while this service is set up elsewhere in the city, will revert to being full-time test sites for anyone with symptoms who needs a PCR test.
From Saturday 1 May, the Eldon and Northarbour sites will again be available 7 days a week, 8am-8pm for anyone who needs a PCR test. This is for those who have COVID-19 symptoms – a high temperature, new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – and need to book a PCR symptomatic coronavirus test.
PCR test should also be taken by anyone who gets a positive test result through asymptomatic testing, or has been advised to do a PCR test by the NHS or local council.
Helen Atkinson continues: "You only need to test twice-weekly when you don’t have symptoms, so picking a time and place that suits you, couldn't be easier. The first time you collect home test kits, staff will be able to show you how to use them and how to record and upload your results; there is additional information in the test packs to help with this. Regular testing will help us monitor where the infection is spreading and how fast in the community. And for anyone who can’t get to any of our collection sites, home test kits can be ordered by post.
"I'm confident the people of Portsmouth will continue to show the community spirit we've seen throughout the pandemic and really get behind asymptomatic testing. Getting into the habit and also remembering to record the results – test, record, repeat – will make a tangible difference to managing the pandemic; it's another straight forward habit we can all adopt, in the same way we've all got used to washing hands more regularly and wearing face coverings."
Free asymptomatic testing is available to all in several ways
- Supervised tests at a testing venue, book an appointment online
- Collecting home test kits from a participating distribution venue. Find your nearest collection point
- By ordering postal home test kits online
What to do after taking a home asymptomatic test
- Record your result online or by phone. Instructions on how to do this are included in the test kit
- If the result is positive: you and your household must self-isolate and you must book a confirmatory PCR test
- If the test is negative: continue with twice-weekly asymptomatic testing and follow ‘hands, face, space, fresh air' guidance
Collecting kits from a pharmacy for testing at home:
- Anyone over the age of 18 can collect test kits from participating pharmacies for themselves and their families to use at home
- You can collect 1 pack per person of 7 lateral flow device tests
- There is no need to book an appointment
- Testing should be done twice a week - it is important to record the result
- Step-by-step instructions are included with the test kit. A video demonstration and alternative language versions are available online. You can also call 119 and request a translation service.
More about asymptomatic testing: https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/community-testing
More about test results and what to do: NHS website