HEALTH chiefs have sought to quell criticisms of the lack of COVID-19 tests in Worcestershire by reminding residents only book a test if they are showing specific symptoms.
Worcestershire is following the national picture in seeing a rise in the number of people who are trying to book a test for Covid-19 and county health chiefs have admitted some people are finding it difficult to book a test locally.
However they have insisted part of the demand is coming from people who do not need a test and have reminded people of the symptoms in which people should seek a test: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Unless you have been medically advised or advised by the local authority to get a test, or have one of more of the symptoms of COVID-19, you should not book a test.
Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health in Worcestershire, said: “ Testing is available to anyone who has a symptom of Covid-19. It is not a “ just in case” facility.
“The tests will identify if a person has Covid at the time of testing, and should only be given to people who are showing symptoms of the virus.
“If you are struggling to book a test, please self-isolate, don’t mix with others and keep trying to book a test.
“Availability in the county is updated regularly, so please don’t give up.
- If someone in your household starts to have symptoms, then that person must get tested and the rest of the household should self-isolate with them whilst they wait for the results.
- If you or other members of the household don’t have symptoms, then you should not get a test – only people with symptoms should get tested. The vast majority of people who are tested in person get their results the very next day.
- If you are self-isolating or in quarantine, then a negative test result does not mean you can end isolation early. The virus can take time to develop and so a test early on does not prove that you won’t go on to develop the virus. That means you could still be at risk of spreading the disease to other people.
- If you have symptoms and need to book a test, you can do this online or by ringing 119. We have been seeing more people trying to ring 111 about testing but we need to make sure that 111 is protected for people who are ringing about other medical and health issues.
Schools have been issued with guidance on testing and the advice for parents and teachers. It is very important that this guidance is followed. Schools should not advise pupils or teachers to take a test unless they exhibit one or more of the listed symptoms.
If there is a confirmed case then schools should not advise entire classes or year groups to get tested. Only those with symptoms should get a test.
Schools must not require students to provide evidence of a negative test before letting them back to school.