Thu, 10 Sept 2020
Berkshire residents are being asked to only request a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms, or have been asked to get a test.
The request from health officials follows a high demand on the Covid-19 testing system, with what officials are saying has been caused by capacity at the labs and not at local testing centres.
Residents in West Berkshire seeking tests said they were told to drive hundreds of miles to get tested.
The Department for Health and Social Care is prioritising tests in areas where there are higher rates of Covid-19.
Berkshire has lower case numbers than elsewhere in the country – with 97 per cent of tests on Berkshire residents last month coming back negative for Covid-19.
Speaking on behalf of the Berkshire West Health Protection Board, deputy director Public Health Berkshire West Meradin Peachey said: “Across the country we are seeing a high demand for Covid-19 testing.
"Some of these will be people seeking tests as a precautionary measure or to reassure themselves that they don’t have Covid-19.
"We’re asking residents only to book a test if they have been asked to do, or they are displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
“Across Berkshire we’re continually updating our local outbreak plans and ensure we are ready to react should we see a significant increase in cases locally.
"However, this has not been the case so far and local residents can be confident in the plans we have in place to deal prevent and prepare for any resurgence of Covid-19.”
People displaying symptoms of Covid-19 should isolate and seek a test by phoning 119 or booking online.
These symptoms are a fever, a continuous cough and loss of taste or smell.
Advice is that if you do not have these symptoms you do not need a test unless you are part of a group of health and care workers who receive regular testing.
Those identified as a contact of a case should isolate for 14 days.
Two weeks covers the incubation and infectious periods of the infection.
A test is not needed unless symptoms are displayed but if a test comes back negative, you will need to isolate for the whole period. The same applies if you are isolating having returned from overseas.
Residents can play their part by maintaining social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering where it is required to do so.
Guidance says to stay two metres away from other people, wash hands often, not to touch your face, and to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue.
Wearing a face covering on public transport, in shops and supermarkets, and all other public places where you are required to do so by law is also required.
Always try to stay two metres away from people you do not live with or who are not in your ‘support bubble’.
Unless you live in an area with local restrictions, you and the people you live with can socialise indoors with people from one other household, and you can stay overnight with each other. Try to keep two metres apart from people not in your own household.