COVID is not for Christmas.
That’s the clear message from Warwickshire County Council (WCC) which is urging residents to do all they can to help control the virus ahead of meeting up with friends and loved ones.
Key to this say health chiefs is regular testing. People should lateral flow test (LFT) at home twice a week if they have no symptoms, or isolate and book an NHS PCR test if they do.
They should also book a PCR test if they have been in contact with someone who has the virus. Covid symptoms include a continuous cough, a high temperature or change to sense of taste or smell. These are similar to signs of other winter viruses so booking a test is advised for anyone in doubt.
Home lateral flow test kits can be ordered online at www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-kits, by calling 119, or collected from local pharmacies with a collection code – which can be accessed at test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/collect-lateral-flow-kits or by scanning a QR code in a pharmacy.
Kits can also be picked up at over 25 fixed community collect sites around the county or from one of the mobile testing units popping up around Warwickshire. People can find their nearest site as well as check opening times and mobile locations at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/covidtesting. It is advised that people take one of these lateral flow tests every three to four days, particularly if they have regular contact with others.
Those with Covid symptoms, or anyone who has been in contact with a positive case, should book an NHS PCR test. PCR tests must be booked in advance at www.gov.uk or by calling 119 to make an appointment. It is essential that anyone with Covid symptoms isolates while they book their PCR test and whilst they await their result. Adult close contacts who are not fully vaccinated also need to isolate for ten days.
It is also important to continue washing and sanitising hands regularly, keeping a distance from those we do not live with, and wearing a face-covering in close contact settings – especially when there is poor ventilation. If meeting people indoors make sure to also let in plenty of fresh air.
WCC health spokeswoman Margaret Bell said: “Covid 19 is still with us and whilst we look forward to the joys that often come with the festive season, testing for the virus should continue to be a regular part of our lives throughout this holiday period. We need to do all we can to protect each other from any suspected risks.
“Testing is an important tool in helping us to control the spread of the virus, so please continue to take regular lateral flow tests at home, and isolate and book a PCR test if you have symptoms.”
For more information about COVID-19 testing options, visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/covid-19-testing-warwickshire