Everyone in Walsall will be able to access free, regular, symptom free coronavirus testing from this Friday, 09 April. Testing for Walsall residents without symptoms using lateral flow devices has been available in the borough for several months but the offer has been limited to those leaving home to work and schoolchildren and their families.
The offer is now being extended to everyone as part of a new national scheme announced by the Government .
People without symptoms will be able to get collect testing kits in order to test twice weekly in a number of ways:
Anyone who would like some help with testing can book a test at one of Walsall’s community testing sites or community pharmacists.
Those leaving home to work should continue to regularly get tested too either through their workplace if they offer symptom free testing or through a home test.
All residents are required to report every result of the; positive, negative, void. They can be reported online or via telephone by calling 119 (free from mobiles and landlines) - Lines are open every day, 7am to 11pm.
It remains essential that anyone who gets a positive result from a rapid test result self-isolates immediately, as must other members of their household, while they get a confirmatory PCR test within two days.
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health, said:
“I encourage everyone without symptoms to take up the Government’s offer of free, regular rapid testing, either via our well established community symptom free test centres or through the new national programme.
“1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus unwittingly. As restrictions continue to ease, it is up to each and every one of us to keep this virus under control.
“Regular testing for people without symptoms – as well as testing for people with symptoms – remains vitally important in keeping track of the virus and helping us to stop outbreaks.
“With more places reopening next week and more services starting back up again don’t give up on all our good work, we have come so far. We recommend everyone gets tested twice a week. Even if you've been vaccinated, still continue to get tested regularly.
“Continue to follow hands, face, space, fresh air, and make sure to take up the option to get tested twice a week at home or at a site, whoever is most convenient.”
The Council is encouraging everyone to take up the offer and participate in free, twice weekly, symptom free COVID-19 testing as it prepares for the further easing of restrictions as part of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap from Monday, April 12.
All non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and more businesses and services will be able to reopen and, as more people are welcomed back into these venues testing is one of the measures to support the roadmap and easing of restrictions.
As well as the rapid testing offer to residents, the Council’s testing programme for businesses and workplaces continues apace. Local firms still have time to sign up to participate in regular, free testing to help protect their employees and stop the spread of the virus.
All secondary school and college pupils are given home test kits and asked to regularly test themselves twice a week at home and report results to NHS Test and Trace, as well as their school or college.
People with symptoms should self-isolate and book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or ring 119.
Notes to editors