Cornwall Council’s Public Health team is urging residents and visitors to join the thousands who are already testing themselves for Covid-19 twice a week at home.
Figures show that more than 440,000 rapid tests have been handed out or administered in Cornwall in less than three months. Community testing with Lateral Flow Test (LFT) kits began for essential workers on 1st March and has gradually opened up to more of the population.
Now every adult over the age of 18 is being urged to take a test twice a week if they have no symptoms of the virus.
The aim is to detect it early in asymptomatic people so they can self-isolate immediately and stop Covid-19 from spreading further.
It is estimated that around one in three people who catch coronavirus show no symptoms, meaning they unknowingly pass it on to family members, friends, work colleagues and anyone they might come into contact with in their daily lives.
There are several ways people in Cornwall with no symptoms can access rapid testing:
· Pick up a kit from your local pharmacy. Check the council's online map to find your nearest one.
· You can also pick up tests to take home at a number of collection sites, and you can find your nearest using the online map (Some only open after 2.30pm).
· If you can’t make use of these options, then you can order tests to be delivered to your home.
Anyone who tests positive with an LFT must self-isolate immediately and arrange to have a confirmatory PCR test. You can book online or call 119.
Rachel Wigglesworth, director of public health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “Regular testing is more important now than ever before as restrictions continue to lift across the country and visitors begin to head down to the South West on their summer holidays.
“By committing to testing themselves twice a week, people can help keep their communities, schools and workplaces as safe as possible. We would also encourage visitors to bring their testing kits with them or access them through Cornwall pharmacies while they are on holiday. Anyone can get hold of them - they’re free of charge and take just 30 minutes to give a result.
“If we can make testing part of our weekly routine we can make sure Covid and any of its new variants don’t get the chance to creep back into our lives.”
Dr Caroline Court, consultant in public health medicine and Cornwall Council’s lead on Covid-19 testing, added: “Regular rapid testing with LFTs is a crucial weapon in our fight against Covid. However, it is important to note that while a positive LFT result is a red light, a negative result is not a green light to drop your guard against the virus and do as you please.
“Anyone receiving a negative test result should recognise that no test is 100 per cent accurate and further reduce the risk of onward transmission by continuing to follow the social distancing guidelines, ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’, and keep to the rules.”
Residents are reminded that the three drive-through LFT testing sites in Camborne, St Austell and Liskeard are due to close at the end of May as the focus shifts to home-testing.
For more on LFT testing visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/lateral-flow-tests