Everyone in England, including those without symptoms, is now able to access free, regular, rapid COVID-19 home testing twice a week.
As around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms but can still pass it on, asymptomatic testing still has an important role to play in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in Barnsley, alongside other vital elements such as effective contact tracing, self-isolating if you have a positive test result, social distancing, handwashing, and wearing face coverings.
Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, regular testing is going to be an essential part of the easing of restrictions as it will help to quickly identify and control the spread of variants.
Lateral Flow Device tests are designed to find those who have COVID-19 but who are not displaying symptoms.
The tests are best at picking up COVID-19 when the virus is most infectious and may not pick people up in the early days of infection or where a test has not been performed correctly. Therefore, they should not be used as a test to rule out COVID-19 and are not a “free pass” – it’s still crucial to stick to all the current guidance to protect ourselves and those around us.
In Barnsley, people will be able to access these tests via:
- A home ordering service via gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
- Workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home (where workplaces have opted into the national scheme)
- Testing on-site at schools and colleges
- Collection at local test sites between 3.30pm and 7pm every day (Lower Courthouse car park, County Way, Barnsley, S70 2JW; Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre car park, Cudworth, S72 8LH; Summer Lane car park, Wombwell, S73 0DD).
- Barnsley Metrodome, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm, until the end of April.
A new 'Pharmacy Collect' service will provide an additional route to regular home testing and anyone aged over 18 without symptoms will be able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of seven rapid tests to use twice a week at home.
A map showing where to get rapid lateral flow tests can be found at https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
Updates will be made to the NHS COVID-19 app in England to coincide with the updated testing offer. The best route for testing can be found at NHS.UK/get-tested.
If testing at home, people will need to register their results online or by calling 119.
Following the expansion of the home testing provision, after just over four months of successful operation, the assisted asymptomatic testing site at Barnsley Metrodome will close at the end of April. Barnsley Council thanks everyone who has attended for twice-weekly testing, to help protect themselves and those around them.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 - a high temperature, a new cough that won’t stop, or change/loss to your sense of taste or smell - should continue to book a PCR test online at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.