Islanders can now book themselves free COVID-19 tests and play their part in helping to reduce the spread of the virus.
People who have a legitimate need to be out and about because they cannot work from home are being offered regular testing to help detect cases of COVID-19 in those who are not showing any symptoms.
Around one in three people who have coronavirus show no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing.
The tests are aimed at those who have to leave home to attend work, such as taxi and bus drivers, childcare and retail workers, building or maintenance workers.
They are also for people who are in contact with others who are vulnerable, such as carers, and are not covered by other programmes.
Testing is available at the following locations with further sites due to be announced in due course:
- County Hall, High Street, Newport.
- The Heights Leisure Centre, Broadway, Sandown.
- The Learning and Development Centre, Westridge, Brading Road, Ryde.
The testing centres are open Monday to Friday, 7am until 7pm, and between 7am and 1pm on Saturdays.
A pre-booking system is in operation and people are advised to book at least 24 hours in advance at www.keeptheislandsafe.org/communitytesting or by calling (01983) 823660.
Workers with smartphones are advised to download the NHS COVID-19 app before they arrive for their test.
The tests being used are called lateral flow tests. They do not require a laboratory to process and usually provide results within 30 minutes.
The test involves taking a swab inside the nose and throat (tonsil), using a long cotton bud. People will do the swab themselves in a booth and the booths will be cleaned after each use.
People will get their results by email or text. If they don’t have an email address or mobile phone they will be contacted on their landline.
Businesses are being urged to encourage their staff to book twice weekly tests to help keep the Island safe.
Simon Bryant, the council’s director of public health, said: “Along with Test and Trace and the roll out of the vaccine, this testing programme will help identify hidden infections and is another tool that can be used to bring coronavirus back under control.
“We hope that residents who do not have the option to work from home will take up this offer and do their bit to help protect their families, colleagues and the communities they work in.“
All efforts to find people without symptoms work hand in hand with the existing free testing service for those with symptoms.
Anyone with one or more of these symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should isolate and book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Home test kits are also available.
The testing site for people who are symptomatic is located at Newclose County Cricket Ground, Blackwater Road, Newport.