Everyone in Cornwall is being urged to take a Covid-19 test at home twice a week to help stop the spread of the virus.
The director of public health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Rachel Wigglesworth described it as “a vital tool” that was now available to everyone.
Until now, the rapid-result ‘lateral flow tests’ have only been offered to frontline and essential workers who can’t work from home, as well as schoolchildren and their families.
But from yesterday (Friday, April 9) they are being made available to every adult in the country who is over the age of 18 and has no symptoms of coronavirus.
The test kits are easy to use and require people to simply swab their nose and throat and then wait 30 minutes for a result, which they register with NHS Test & Trace through an app or website.
Ms Wigglesworth said: “Twice-weekly rapid testing is a vital tool in helping to identify cases of Covid-19 we would otherwise not find.
“With one in three people with the virus showing no symptoms and potentially spreading it without knowing, twice-weekly rapid testing enables us to find these cases and prevent the spread of infection. Anyone who tests positive can self-isolate immediately and avoid passing the virus on to others.”
There are several ways people in Cornwall with no symptoms can access rapid testing:
• You can get tested at drive-through sites in Camborne, St Austell or Liskeard – book here: https://getatest.vdt.app/cc
• You can also pick up tests to take home at a number of collection sites, most of which are only open from 2.30pm to 8pm. Find your nearest one here: https://find-covid-19-rapid-test-sites.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
• You may be able to collect a testing kit from a local pharmacy. Check here to see if there is a pharmacy in your area with test kits: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
• If you can’t make use of these options, then you can order tests to be delivered to your home here: www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow- tests
You can read a list of all the available sites and how to take a test here: Free lateral flow testing for everyone begins – where to get tests in Cornwall
Anyone who tests positive with an LFT must self-isolate immediately and arrange to have a confirmatory PCR test by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.
However, the council said it was important to note that while a positive LFT test result is a red light, a negative result is not a green light for people to drop their guard against Covid-19 and do as they pleased.
It also warned that anyone receiving a negative test should recognise that no test is 100% 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.
Rachel added: “Getting into the habit of twice-weekly testing needs to become part of our everyday lives. This alongside having the vaccine, following the ‘roadmap’ rules and remembering ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’, will help us all play our part in keeping each other safe and ensuring we can continue to ease our way out of lockdown.”