31/03/2022 - Permalink

Coronavirus: News from our partners – Local COVID-19 testing sites to close in April

Related topics: Coronavirus / Health / Partner organisations

News from our partners Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System (ICS)

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin COVID-19 testing sites will be closing in line with the Government’s ‘Living with COVID-19’ plan from the start of April (2022).

This means that free testing at the walk-through PCR sites for people with COVID-19 symptoms at all sites across the county (including Oswestry and Shrewsbury’s sites, mobile testing units in Ludlow and Market Drayton, as well as The Place in Oakengates, Legges Way in Madeley, Wrekin Car Park in Wellington and the testing site at Ironbridge Park and Ride) will close from tomorrow (Friday 1 April 2022).

Free COVID-19 tests will still be available for people at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 (the over-75s, and over-12s with weakened immune systems), and those eligible for COVID-19 treatments, along with NHS staff and social care workers, it has been announced.

People not in these groups will have to buy a Lateral Flow Test from pharmacies, supermarkets or online.

The new rules say that, from 1 April in England, free testing will be provided for:

  • Patients in hospital, where a PCR test is required for their care
  • People who are eligible for community COVID-19 drug treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill if they become infected. People in this group will be contacted directly and sent Lateral Flow Tests to keep at home for use if they have symptoms, as well as being told how to reorder tests
  • Care home residents
  • People working in some high-risk settings, including care homes and prisons. These staff will be able to test regularly, without symptoms

Asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing will continue from April in some high-risk settings where infection can spread rapidly while prevalence of COVID-19 is high.

The Government has said it still has the ability to ramp up testing should it be needed, such as if a new variant of concern emerges.

From 1 April, updated guidance will advise people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and a high temperature or who feel unwell, to try stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature.

Anyone with a positive COVID-19 test result will be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they are most infectious.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said:-

“As we move through the changes set out within the Living with COVID-19 plan, it remains crucial that we do all we can to protect our communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

“Following safe behaviours has been one of the key tools we’ve had to help reduce the spread of the virus and keep everyone in our communities safe, and will be a massive part in how we live with coronavirus safely going forward.

“I strongly urge everyone locally to continue getting vaccinated, wearing a face covering in areas that are busier and indoors, welcoming fresh air into their meet-ups, and washing their hands regularly. By working together, we can manage these next steps safely.”

Liz Noakes, Telford and Wrekin’s Director for Public Health, added:-

“It is important for people to remember that COVID-19 has not gone away even if the free testing comes to an end. Everything we do – all the small things we have learned to keep ourselves safe – become even more important now, especially self-isolating if you have symptoms or a positive test result, to avoid spreading the virus to someone more vulnerable to it. If we continue to work together, we can keep each other safe and well.”

Further information and updates on COVID-19 testing, including how those at high risk from COVID-19 will be able to get free NHS tests, can be found on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Further information on booster vaccines can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/how-to-get-a-coronavirus-vaccine/how-to-get-a-booster-dose/