Rapid symptom-free COVID testing now available to more people


Workers and volunteers in public-facing roles have been added to the list of people who can book a symptom-free COVID test at Spiceball

From tomorrow (23 February) more people will have access to a free rapid COVID-19 test as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s symptom-free testing programme.   The tests, at Spiceball Leisure Centre, will be open to workers and volunteers in public-facing roles such as taxi drivers, independent retailers, and tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians.

Oxfordshire County Council is working in partnership with Cherwell District Council and the other city and district councils to provide the regular rapid tests for people who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but who work or volunteer outside the home.

The free tests are for people without access to workplace testing through their employer and is open to the self-employed and people who work for small businesses.

Around one in three people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and so regular testing is an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus. It will help identify and self-isolate those who are unaware they are carrying the virus, which will protect work colleagues, customers and communities alike. The rapid spread of the highly infectious new variant of COVID-19 makes the testing of those who work outside the home an even greater priority.

Spiceball Leisure has been open for free rapid COVID-19 tests for the last couple of weeks and initially focussed on blue lights workers.    Within the county the Beacon in Wantage and King’s Centre in Oxford are also offering the same service.

Tests take just 15 minutes using lateral flow devices and involve taking a swab of the back of the throat and inside the nose. The swab is then given to trained staff at the test centre who process the test on-site. Results are given within an hour by text message or by email. Anyone who tests positive is told to self-isolate and follow the national guidance. They are provided with detailed advice and support on self-isolation.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “I am delighted that we are now able to provide symptom-free testing for public-facing workers and volunteers across the county, who otherwise are unable to access testing through workplace schemes.

“Broadening testing to identify more people who could be spreading the disease without knowing it will help prevent new cases. With one in three people with COVID-19 having no symptoms, this programme is essential for those who work outside the home and it will help us more effectively control the virus and stop the spread.”

Find out more about symptom-free testing in Oxfordshire by visiting www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/symptomfreetesting.

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