The quick, free tests are available at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton town centre, a marquee in Brockwell Park and in the education centre next to Brixton Windmill off Blenheim Gardens – with results usually back within an hour. An appointment must be booked in advance, and walk-in requests cannot be accepted. The tests are available for people who live or work in Lambeth.
To book at test visit lambethbooking.sishost.co.uk/OnlineBookings/.
Cllr Jim Dickson, Lambeth’s joint Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “We have worked hard to get these centres up and running as quickly as possible. A third of Covid-19 infections are non-symptomatic so people may unwittingly be spreading the virus.
“Community Testing is incredibly important as the current lockdown rules allow some people to leave their home for work and other reasons. This is a significant number of people in Lambeth so these tests are a useful way of catching those who may have Covid-19, but don’t have any symptoms. We are currently recommending weekly testing for those can’t work from home.
“These rapid tests are a useful tool as part of all our efforts to stop the spread of the virus, but the best way to reduce the rate of Covid-19 is to only leave your home when absolutely necessary – and when you do, by following the Hands, Face, Space guidance.”
The council is looking at opening further sites in the borough for Community Testing and has been approached by Lambeth businesses who have offered to accommodate the temporary sites as a way of supporting the initiative.
You cannot get a rapid Covid-19 test if you have Covid-19 symptoms, are under-18 or do not live or work in Lambeth. Residents with Covid-19 symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your taste or smell – must still self-isolating and book a test through the NHS at the GOV.UK website.
If people have Covid-19 symptoms they still need to should book a test through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. The symptoms are a high temperature (fever), a new continuous cough, and loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
What to bring with you to the appointment
You should bring:
- Confirmation of your booking – the confirmation email on your mobile device or printed out
- A mobile device to scan a QR or bar code on the test. There will be devices available if you don’t have your own
- A face covering (unless you are exempt)
- You may also want to bring a bottle of water, as we cannot provide water at the test site.
- Do plan ahead – there are no toilet facilities at the test site
How the test works
The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. You can do the swab yourself, but there will be trained staff available if you need support. You can watch this video for a detailed explanation of the procedure.
Once you have finished, the swab will be processed and analysed. Once the test is done, the swab is discarded.
The rapid test is called a ‘lateral flow test’ – it does not need to be sent away to a lab and provides results very quickly, within an hour. Read more about how Lateral Flow tests work, their safety and the validation process which they were subject to by Public Health England and scientists from Oxford University before being approved for use across the country.
Getting your test results
Results will be sent to you the same day via text message and/or email that you register on the day of the test. The results are usually available within an hour – sometimes as fast as 30 minutes. You do not need to self isolate whilst waiting for the test results, unless you develop symptoms of Covid-19.
If you get a positive result
You must self-isolate immediately and book another test with the national testing service. This is called a ‘PCR test’ and it will be analysed by a lab to confirm the result of your first, rapid test. If you are out or at work when you get your result please make your way home. Avoid using public transport if possible. If you are at work please inform your manager immediately so that they can initiate Covid-19 infection protocols.