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Lateral flow rapid antigen tests at selected pharmacies

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From Wednesday (Dec 16) selected pharmacies across the borough will be offering pre-booked COVID-19 tests for people with no symptoms.

The lateral flow rapid antigen tests will be available to all symptom-free borough residents at participating pharmacies. Tests can be booked online and people get the results in 20-30 minutes. People will still need to swab their nose and throat, but the results are much faster than the standard test which goes to a lab. Getting a test plays an important role in breaking the chain of spreading the virus.

The project is part of a national pilot scheme and is being delivered by a number of community pharmacies in the borough through the Dudley Local Pharmaceutical Committee in partnership with Central Health Solutions Limited

So far more than 20 pharmacies are participating in the scheme, but this will increase over the coming weeks and into the new year. A separate testing site, also part of the pilot, is planned for fire service crews. This is not open to the public.

The tests are available by appointment only and are for people who are completely symptom free.  Anyone displaying any of the symptoms of coronavirus - a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change to their sense of smell – must book a standard COVID test at one of the borough’s four testing sites which continue to operate by visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

The tests will play a huge part in breaking the chain of infection so it’s important that people use them. The tests only measure someone’s health at that point in time: anyone who goes on to develop any symptoms of coronavirus must get a full COVID test.  Anyone who gets a positive result from the lateral flow rapid antigen test must book a second standard test at one of the borough’s four testing sites.

To find out which pharmacies are taking part or to book a test at a pharmacy visit https://www.1centralhealth.co.uk/covidscreen

Councillor Patrick Harley (pictured above, handing over some testing kits to Olutayo Arikawe at Priory Pharmacy), leader of Dudley Council, said:

This is a really innovative project and we are the first local authority in the country to use pharmacies to roll out these tests.
We know that between one in four and one in three people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but that does not mean they are not infectious. The symptom-free tests will help us to identify and disrupt the chain of infection. It might seem an odd thing to get a test when you feel well, but it can really help us to prevent the spread of this illness to people who are more vulnerable.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care said:

These lateral flow tests are just one element in the fight against coronavirus and we will be most successful if we all continue to do the essentials – wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, washing hands regularly and staying at least two metres apart, or one metre with a face covering or other precautions.

Olutayo Arikawe, pharmacist at Priory Pharmacy, said:

The tests are quick and simple to do and people get their results really quickly. Taking one of these tests when you are symptom free is a big step in terms of breaking the chain of the virus and reducing transmission.
It’s really important though, that even with a clear result, people continue to follow government guidance, adhere to the rule of 6 and follow the hands, face, space advice. Even though you may test negative one day, you could still contract the virus at a later date, and if you show signs of any of the main symptoms, not just one, you must get a full COVID test at one of our four test centres.

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