Back to school rapid Covid-19 testing available now

3:15pm - 02 March 2021

Families and households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, are now encouraged to get rapid Covid-19 tests twice a week.

North Somerset Council’s community testing centres at Hutton Moor in Weston-super-Mare, Scotch Horn in Nailsea, and Somerset Hall in Portishead can be used by those who are not already receiving regular tests through their work. The centres are open seven days a week 8.30am-5.30pm with late opening until 7.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The government has also announced it will start offering home testing kits, meaning it has never been easier for people without symptoms of coronavirus to get tested.

Rapid community testing aims to find people who are infectious with Covid-19 but do not have symptoms. This allows them to isolate, taking the virus out of the community and stopping the spread.

Testing is part of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown to help keep infection rates under control. Getting tested can make the difference between children being able to stay in school, or a class being sent home due to an outbreak.

North Somerset Council Executive member for health, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “Our community testing centres have been up and running for anyone who lives or works in North Somerset, and we’ve particularly encouraged people who have been unable to work from home during lockdown to get regular tests.

“We’re exploring opportunities to make access to testing even easier in future, including working with the government’s Department for Health and Social Care to create more collection points for home test kits.

“Our service, which we run jointly with South Gloucestershire, has run more than 18,000 tests since it opened, finding nearly 200 positive cases.

“Each one of those people would otherwise have been unknowingly spreading Covid-19.”

Director of public health, Matt Lenny, said: “As a negative test is only as good as the moment it is taken, it is really important not to use rapid testing as a reason to avoid following Covid safety guidelines.

“It is vital for everyone, even those who test negative, to continue to wash their hands, wear a face covering if they can, keep at least 2m away from anyone not in their household or social bubble, and follow lockdown rules.”

To find out more about rapid testing for households and bubbles of school pupils and staff, including how to access home testing kits, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rapid-lateral-flow-testing-for-households-and-bubbles-of-school-pupils-and-staff#how-to-get-a-rapid-lateral-flow-test

To book a test in North Somerset or for more information visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rapidtesting