Residents living or working in specific postcodes are being urged to get a COVID-19 test before the community surge testing programme in Bristol and South Gloucestershire ends this weekend (Sunday 21 February).
Over 33,500 tests have been completed since the programme launched on Sunday 7 February. More than 14,700 tests have been carried out at the six mobile testing units (MTUs) set up, while over 18,700 tests were returned to Collect and Drop sites across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Health leaders are thanking residents who have taken part in the two week programme, and encouraging those who are eligible, but have not yet been tested, to get a test before the end of the weekend.
Christina Gray, Director of Public Health at Bristol City Council, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to residents who have been tested as part of the programme. We’re very grateful for citizens who have come forward, and for those who have collected tests for people unable to visit an MTU or a Collect and Drop site.
“Around 20 per cent of those eligible for surge community testing have taken part which is a fantastic result. This is a very beneficial sample size which will help add to the science nationally and show a local picture when results are returned from Public Health in the next couple of weeks.
“Over the next few days, both local authorities will be expanding community outreach to further encourage uptake of tests in the specific postcodes, including pop up Collect and Drop sites.”
The programme aims to establish the prevalence of a change in the variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in Kent.
Of the 33,500 tests completed so far, around one per cent have tested positive for COVID-19. Residents who test positive are asked to self-isolate as per public health guidance.
Over 10,000 home testing kits are yet to be returned to Collect and Drop sites and residents are asked to register their test and return it as soon as possible.
Sara Blackmore, Director of Public Health at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “As the programme comes to a close at the end of this weekend, we urge anyone who hasn’t registered or returned their home testing kit to do so as soon as possible.
“There is still time for those who haven’t taken part to get a test and help us learn more about the change in the virus.
“Since the programme launched, further cases of the change in variant have been identified, but this is outside of the community surge testing programme.
“All positive tests found in surge testing areas are sent for genomic sequencing to determine whether any additional cases of the variant of concern have been identified. The genomic sequencing process typically takes around two weeks, so we’d expect to see results in the next week or so from the surge testing in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. So far, no additional cases of the variant of concern have been identified via our community surge testing programme.
“For now, please do not change your behaviour and continue to follow the lockdown guidance to ensure infection rates continue to reduce, remembering hands, face, space.”
There are currently six MTUS open daily in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. All MTUs are open Monday to Sunday, from 9am to 6pm, and include:
- Bristol and Bath Science Park, Dirac Crescent, Emersons Green, BS16 7FR
- Bristol City Council Testing Centre, 17-18 Wellington Road, BS2 9DA
- Imperial Retail Park, Hartcliffe Way, BS13 7TJ
- Shaftsbury Park, Frenchay Park Road, BS16 1LG
- The Imperial Sports Ground, West Town Lane, BS14 9EA
- Yate Common, Westerleigh Road, BS37 8RZ
For people who can’t get to an MTU, home testing kits are available from five Collect and Drop sites in Bristol, and seven sites in South Gloucestershire. An additional Collect and Drop site will open in Marksbury Road Library in Bristol tomorrow (Wednesday 17 February).
The Collect and Drop sites in Bristol are open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm at:
- Fishponds Library, Robinson House, Hockey's Lane, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 3HL
- Henleaze Library, 30 Northumbria Drive, Henleaze, Bristol, BS9 4HP
- Junction 3 Library, 138b Lower Ashley Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0FJ
- Whitchurch Library, 7 Oatlands Ave, Bristol, BS14 0SX
- Wick Road Library, Wick Road, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 4HE
- Marksbury Road Library, Marksbury Road, BS3 5LG (opening on 17 February)
The Collect and Drop sites in South Gloucestershire are open Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm at:
- Emersons Green Library, Emersons Way, Emersons Green, BS16 7AP
- Downend Library, Buckingham Gardens, Downend, BS16 5TW
- Hambrook Cricket Club, Moorend Road, Hambrook Winterbourne, BS16 1SJ
- Pucklechurch Community Centre, Abson Road, Pucklechurch, Bristol, BS16 9RH (closed 17 to 19 February)
- Shireway Community Centre, Shire Way, Yate, BS37 8YS
- Staple Hill Library, Broad Street, Staple Hill, BS16 5LS
- Westerleigh Village Hall, Shorthill Road, BS37 8QL