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Twice weekly rapid testing available to everyone

From Friday 9 April, everyone aged over 11 in Bracknell Forest will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing to use twice a week, in line with the government’s announcement.

Rapid testing has so far been available to those most at risk and people who need to leave home for work, including frontline NHS workers, care home staff and residents, and schoolchildren and their families. Now rapid testing will be offered to everyone, with people encouraged to take regular tests to help prevent outbreaks and reclaim a more normal way of life.

One in three people with COVID-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus without realising. Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission and saving lives.

Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, regular testing will be an essential part of the easing of restrictions, as it will help to quickly suppress the spread of variants. You must still get tested even if you have been vaccinated, as it is still possible to catch and pass the virus on after vaccination. 

Through new testing technology, positive cases of variants of concern are being detected faster than ever before. More people getting a test will increase the ability to identify and control variants. Getting a rapid test is quick and convenient.

Expanded regular testing for people without symptoms will be delivered through:

  • workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home
  • rapid test sites
  • collection at a rapid test site or local PCR test site at Bracknell Leisure centre (between 1:30pm and 8pm)
  • if you cannot get to a testing site you can order home kits at GOV.UK
  • home testing kits for secondary school and college pupils and staff through schools and colleges

Rapid testing and Community Collect sites in Bracknell Forest can be found at:

  • One Lexicon, Bracknell
  • Great Hollands Pavilion, Bracknell,
  • The Morgan Centre, Crowthorne.
  • Sandhurst Memorial Hall, Sandhurst
  • New Priestwood Community Centre, Bracknell
  • Brownlow Hall, Warfield (reopens 17 April)

A new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service is also launching which will provide an additional route to regular testing. People aged over 18 without symptoms will be able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of 7 rapid tests to use twice a week at home.  

If testing at home, individuals must register their results online at GOV.UK or by calling 119. If the test result is positive, it is vital that they self-isolate and book a confirmatory PCR test within 48 hours. If the result is negative, this is only an indication that they are unlikely to have COVID-19, and is not 100%  confirmation, therefore they must continue to observe hands, face, space and continue to get regularly tested.

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should book a test online or by calling 119.

Charlotte Pavitt, Public Health consultant at Bracknell Forest Council, said:

“Rapid testing helps us find asymptomatic COVID-19 cases that we wouldn’t otherwise know about, helping to break chains of transmission. These tests are effective in detecting people that are infectious but have no symptoms and therefore most likely to transmit infection to others. They are another tool we now have to help maintain lower infection rates.  We encourage everyone to take up the offer of these free rapid tests – they are quick and easy to carry out either in a testing site or in your own home.

It is very important that anyone who has the virus, or might have been exposed to it, avoids all social interaction for 10 days, as this will help stop the spread of coronavirus. By self-isolating when required, you are helping to protect others around you, reducing transmission and saving lives.

“You must only leave your house to get a coronavirus test if you have symptoms, but you must go straight there and back - it is best to walk or drive yourself there if you can. You are legally required to self-isolate following a notification by NHS Test and Trace and could be fined if you don’t.

More information can be found on the rapid testing page.