Local test and trace services

Testing forms a key part of the Government’s strategy to enable life to return to something approaching normal whilst keeping coronavirus under control.

The NHS test and trace service ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents.

Test and trace also helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

Locally, the mobile testing unit previously at Oxstalls Tennis Centre in Gloucester will be trialling new locations across the county. Earlier this month, a new regional testing centre opened at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, offering around 700 tests a day. The mobile unit will mean hundreds more tests are available each day it is operational.

As well as increasing local testing capacity on the days it’s operating and making them even easier for more people to access, trialling sites now will help to ensure, if called upon, the unit can be quickly set up at tried and tested locations.

The first location to be trialled is Cinderford Rugby Club, in operation from last Saturday (13th June) until this Wednesday (17th June). It is important to stress that this is not in response to an increase in concern in the area, it’s simply using available testing capacity and trying out possible locations and fine tuning the way everything works. In fact, the Forest of Dean has consistently been the area in Gloucestershire with the smallest amount of infection.

Thankfully the number of new cases in Gloucestershire continues to fall, as does the number of people sadly dying with Covid-19, but whilst the picture is an improving one, it’s important to remain vigilant as the virus continues to circulate within the population. We must all therefore continue to follow social distancing measures and carry on with effective hand washing.

It’s important that anyone who thinks they might have Covid-19 symptoms isolates straight away and orders a test. They can order a test via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 if they don’t have internet access or cannot drive to a testing site and would like one delivered to their home.

You can find out more about the NHS test and trace system through this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works