Every adult in Devon is being encouraged to take a rapid, lateral flow test for coronavirus twice a week, and now they can do so in a variety of ways including through testing centres, workplaces, pharmacies, or home delivery.
The tests are fast and convenient, and results are usually available within the hour.
Rapid lateral flow tests are for people who show no symptoms of coronavirus – the new and continuous cough, high temperature, or change to their usual sense of taste or smell. People with these symptoms should immediately self-isolate and arrange a PCR test via the NHS.
Regular testing of people who show no symptoms of having coronavirus is essential to help stop the spread of the virus. One in three people with COVID-19 don't show symptoms, so regular testing helps identify those who are likely to have the virus, unknowingly.
If they are negative, they can carry on with their day while still adhering to the public health measures, including maintaining social distance, wearing face coverings when indoors in public places, and washing their hands regularly.
A positive lateral flow test result means that the person is likely to have the virus, and they will be instructed to self-isolate and to arrange a confirmatory PCR test via the NHS.
From this week, Devon County Council is making lateral flow testing easier to access. The Council has arranged mobile community testing in Ashburton, Axminster, Barnstaple, Bideford, Buckfastleigh, Crediton, Cullompton, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Exeter, Exmouth, Great Torrington, Holsworthy, Honiton, Ilfracombe, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Lynton-Lynmouth, Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Seaton, South Molton, Tavistock, Teignmouth, Tiverton and Totnes.
The service will stop in each community, at a specific location, twice a week on given days – please check devon.cc/testing for times, locations and dates near you.
Alternatively, people can collect home test kits from any of the council’s mobile testing sites, so that they can take the lateral flow tests at home. Staff at the mobile testing sites can show you how to take the test if you’re not sure how to use the test kit.
Home test kits can also be ordered from the NHS to be delivered to people’s home address, and they are available from NHS testing locations and pharmacies that are part of the Pharmacy Collect scheme.
Additionally some workplaces are offering testing to their employees either on-site or at home – and if you own a businesses with more than ten employees it is not too late to register.
Carers, personal assistants and front line social care staff can also order and collect testing kits at the same time as their PPE supplies.
Those who leave their home to work or volunteer and come into contact with people in the community, for instance carers and emergency service staff, are particularly encouraged to use the service.
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said: “I encourage all residents without symptoms to get tested twice a week. There are now many ways to access testing to suit your particular circumstances either through home testing kits or mobile testing units.
"Testing is particularly important if you leave home to work or volunteer, or if you’re a carer for instance.
“If you test positive, you’ll be asked to self-isolate for ten days, and if you’re negative, you can continue your day but must social distance, wear a face covering when indoors in a public space and wash your hands regularly.”
If you do not have symptoms you can find where and when you can get tested near you by visiting devon.cc/testing.