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Healthwatch West Berkshire encourage testing in new Time2Test initiative



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Healthwatch West Berkshire is encouraging coronavirus testing as people return to work, school and college.

A series of pop-up community testing events will be held in West Berkshire between October and December.

The initiative is being carried out in conjunction with West Berkshire Public Health, West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board and Community United West Berkshire.

Healthwatch West Berks is assisting to co-ordinate the #Time2test initiative. Picture by: Heathwatch West Berkshire. (52428776)
Healthwatch West Berks is assisting to co-ordinate the #Time2test initiative. Picture by: Heathwatch West Berkshire. (52428776)

Chief officer of Heathwatch West Berkshire Andrew Sharp said: “The return of our region’s younger people to schools and colleges, around our district and further across the country, means that we should all be mindful to remember that Covid-19 is highly contagious.

“We at Healthwatch West Berkshire think the best way to stop the spread of the virus is to keep testing."

He said that there is a great focus on residents who are more vulnerable to the virus, such as people from ethnic minorities, those who are homeless, people from traveller communities and those unsure about testing.

The pop-up testing van will be out and about in West Berkshire throughout the rest of 2021. Picture by: Healthwatch West Berkshire. (52428778)
The pop-up testing van will be out and about in West Berkshire throughout the rest of 2021. Picture by: Healthwatch West Berkshire. (52428778)

The government has said that the test and trace system remains critical to managing and reducing the spread of the virus, as well as rapid asymptomatic testing.

It has also said that the asymptomatic testing programme has found more than 700,000 cases since it began.

It also stated that lateral flow tests identify around a quarter of the cases that are reported daily.

Deputy leader of West Berkshire Council and executive member for public health and wellbeing Graham Bridgman (Con, Burghfield and Mortimer) said: “Vaccinations, boosters and regular testing are all very important, but there are other things we can do as well.

“Staying at home and taking a test if you feel unwell, use of face coverings and remembering to maintain good ventilation when meeting other people can help. “

Healthwatch West Berkshire has said that its team will be offering assisted testing, so that individuals can learn to test themselves at home, as well as giving out advice and free testing kits.

It has also asked for people to get in touch if they know of any groups of people who are susceptible to Covid-19, whether it be because they are immuno-compromised, such as those going through cancer treatment, or at a high risk for other reasons.

The team will be in the area until December 31 and is looking for suitable sites to bring the pop-up to so that everyone locally is reached by the initiative.

There will be updates on this initiative at: https://www.healthwatchwestberks.org.uk/2021/09/west-berkshire-community-testing/



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