Reading Covid Surge Testing Starts Today
Extra Covid-19 testing for more than 30,000 residents and workers in postcode areas RG1 3, RG1 5, RG1 6 and RG1 7 will begin today (Monday 7 June) and run for two weeks. Everyone over the age of 12 who lives, works or studies in these postcode areas is being asked to take an extra test.
Those in the target groups can access a test by attending a local test site from Monday 7 June. Test sites include Prospect Park and Reading University.
Reading Covid Surge Testing Sites
A full list of sites and opening hours is available at www.reading.gov.uk/testnow and will be updated as more sites become available. No appointment is needed.
It is also possible to order a test online from www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
The testing has been introduced because Public Health England (PHE) has identified more than 100 cases of the Covid-19 variant that was first identified in India, now known as the ‘Delta’ variant, in Reading. Not all cases can be linked to international travel indicating that there is community transmission. Overall cases of Covid-19 are increasing in Reading with the latest figures showing more than 80 cases per 100,000 people, of which 37% are the Delta variant.
Reading Borough Council is working with NHS Test and Trace to carry out the extra PCR testing (also known as ‘surge’ testing) to find and isolate as many cases as possible, and therefore prevent the spread of the virus further.
People are asked to take the test even if they don’t have symptoms and even if they have received one or both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. However, if someone has tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days using a PCR test they should not take this extra test as it may result in a ‘false positive’ result.
If someone tests positive, they should:
- self-isolate immediately along with their household for 10 days to stop the spread of the virus;
- engage with contact tracers when contacted;
- check if they are eligible for a self-isolation support payment reading.gov.uk/covidselfisolate
- contact the One Reading Community Hub if they need extra help to self-isolate reading.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-one-reading-community-hub-support/
Evidence shows current Covid-19 vaccines are effective against circulating variants, which is why it is so important for everyone to take the vaccine when offered and ensure that they complete the course of two doses for maximum protection.
Meradin Peachey, Director of Public Health for Berkshire West said:
“While there is no evidence that the variant causes more severe illness, it remains important that as many people as possible living in the RG1 3, RG1 5, RG1 6 and RG1 7 postcode areas complete the tests. We have no way of knowing how many – if any – of the variant cases there are in the area unless these tests are carried out. Whilst precautionary, the more completed tests we get, the more chance we have of preventing this variant spreading further.”
“Whether or not you have any symptoms, and whether or not you have had one or even two vaccine jabs, we still need residents to complete the tests when asked to do so.”
Councillor Jason Brock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said:
“This is about doing the right thing for Reading and helping to protect your loved ones, your neighbours and your local community. For two weeks from Monday 7 June, you will be able to get tested at one of the test sites. Full details of the sites are on the Council’s website and details will be updated as more facilities are added.”
“I fully appreciate that the discovery of this variant in the postcode will cause some degree of worry, but it is important to emphasise only 100 cases have been discovered, which means the risk of transmission is low. I’d like to thank local residents in advance for their patience and co-operation.”
“The best way to protect yourself, your family and friends is to get vaccinated and I urge people to take up the invitation when called to do so.”
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor for NHS Test and Trace said:
“As part of our proactive sequencing work, we have identified cases of COVID-19 variants in a number of areas across England. A small proportion of these cases have no link to international travel suggesting that there are some cases in the community.”
“PHE and NHS Test and Trace are monitoring the situation closely and appropriate public health measures such as increased testing and contact tracing are being put in place where necessary.”
Reading Covid Surge Testing Further Information
A dedicated webpage contains all the latest information for residents. Go to www.reading.gov.uk/testnow