Earlier this week the government announced that from today (9 April), it would be launching its new Covid-19 universal testing offer. This means that everyone who lives and works in Croydon will be able to access free rapid lateral flow tests and are encouraged to them take them twice weekly. As we move forward on the roadmap to recovery and people leave their homes more often, regular testing for people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms can help us to identify cases that would not otherwise be detected, and keep our community safe. I’d like to share some information with you about how everyone in Croydon can access rapid lateral flow tests – please share this information with your networks.
How can people in Croydon get rapid lateral flow tests?
· Workplace testing – if your employer is offering tests, either supervised at a test site, or testing kits you can collect to do at home.
· Community testing sites – if you live or work in Croydon you can book a test at one of our four community testing sites located around the borough. Book here: https://croydon.zipporah.co.uk/LFT
· NHS Test and Trace sites – from next week local testing centres in car parks at Arena, SE25, and Central Parade, New Addington will operate as testing sites in the morning only, and in the afternoon you can pick up rapid lateral flow test kits for use at home. Visit http://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests to order.
· Pharmacy collect – pharmacies have signed up to offer pharmacy collect with more coming online in the coming weeks. You can find out which pharmacies are offering this near you. Visit the NHS website: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
· Home delivery – if you can’t access tests through the other routes, you can now order a box of tests to be delivered to your home. Visit https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or call 119.
· Secondary and college students are already being given test kits to use at home twice a week, during the holidays and term time.
Please note, rapid lateral flow testing is only for people without symptoms. Anyone who has symptoms must self-isolate immediately and book a free PCR test in the usual way at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. Croydon’s incidence rate is currently low and this is down to the fantastic work our community is doing to break the chains of transmission – sticking to the social distancing and getting tested as soon as they have symptoms.
Why are we being asked to take rapid lateral flow tests regularly when they don’t have symptoms?
Rapid or lateral flow tests are a vital tool in helping to identify cases of coronavirus we would otherwise not find. With 1 in 3 people showing no symptoms and potentially spreading it without knowing, rapid lateral flow tests enable us to find these cases and prevent the spread of infection. The tests are easy to use with the results available in 30 minutes so those who test positive can self-isolate immediately to avoid spreading it to others.
Are rapid lateral flow tests accurate?
Extensive clinical evaluation has been carried out on the tests. Evaluations from PHE and the University of Oxford show these tests are accurate and sensitive enough to be used for community screening purposes. Recent analysis by NHS Test and Trace shows that lateral flow tests have a specificity of at least 99.9 per cent. This means that for every 1,000 tests carried out there is fewer than one false positive result.
If I have a negative result, does that mean I’m safe and pose no risk to others?
A positive test result is a red light, but a negative test result is not a green light. Anyone receiving a negative test result should recognise that no test result is 100% accurate and should continue to follow hands, face, space and avoid risky behaviours to further reduce the risk of onwards transmission.
Thank you for all your support in helping to keep our borough safe,
With best wishes
Rachel Flowers Director of Public Health Croydon
Mobile: 07939 502 403 Email: Rachel.Flowers@Croydon.gov.uk
Please note all Public Health covid-19 queries should be sent to Covid19@croydon.gov.uk