Eligibility for testing extended
Dudley Council’s health chief is urging anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms to get tested after the eligibility criteria was extended.
Up until recently only essential workers, over 65s and those who could not work from home, such as construction workers, were eligible for the tests.
However, the government has this week confirmed, as part of its plan to extend testing capacity, that anyone aged five and above and showing symptoms can receive the swab test.
People can register for a test online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. Anyone who does not have access to the internet or has difficulty using digital services can call a new 119 service to book their test.
Symptoms include a high temperature, where a person feels hot to touch on their chest or back, a new continuous cough, where a person is coughing repeatedly, and now in addition a loss of or change to their sense of smell or taste.
Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate along with members of their household.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and social care, said:
With the testing capacity being extended it’s really important all eligible people get tested as soon as possible to help us map and control the spread of infection as we move through this crisis.
I’m also really pleased to see a new dedicated telephone number being set up for those who are unable to access online services. Please only use this service if you really need to.
Testing is most effective within one to three days of symptoms developing, and should be carried out in the first five days.
The test involves taking a swab of the inside of the nose and the back of the throat, using a long cotton bud. It tests if someone currently has coronavirus.
Advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS is available at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus