Since the enhanced testing started on Tuesday morning tens of thousands of PCR test kits had been handed out to residents across the borough, and sites were open throughout the weekend for people to return the testing kit, as well as the option to take on-site tests. The enhanced testing programme continues this week.
Full details of the site locations and instructions have been published on the council website at lambeth.gov.uk/enhancedtesting.
Online PCR test kit ordering for those who are unable to access a testing site is also available via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. Lambeth residents should select the option “my local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms” when asked why they are requesting a test.
All PCR tests, including those ordered via gov.uk, must be returned to a Lambeth testing site listed on the council website – lambeth.gov.uk/enhancedtesting.
These PCR tests are different to the normal lateral flow tests more commonly used as part of the routine asymptomatic testing. By using PCR testing, positive results can be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping us to identify variant of concern cases and help stop their spread.
Pupils and staff should continue using twice-weekly rapid testing as normal.
Lambeth’s Director of Public Health, Ruth Hutt said: “There is currently no evidence to suggest the South African variant is more serious than others, or that vaccines don’t offer good protection against it.
“We thank residents and business people for their incredible response to this testing programme and have added extra capacity through the week to keep queuing to a minimum.
“It is important to add, that as well as taking a PCR test, residents should continue to follow the current guidance which includes limiting your number of contacts, washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, keeping your distance and covering your face.
“If you test positive for Covid-19 you must isolate in order to prevent passing on the virus.”
For people who do test positive, Lambeth has a comprehensive Covid-19 self-isolation support service for those who need it. That includes payments of up to £500 for residents on low incomes. To find out more call 0800 054 1215, 9am to 5pm, seven days a week or visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/self-isolate-help.
Residents are also being asked to get vaccinated if invited by the NHS for a jab. People with Covid-19 symptoms can get tested at one of several symptomatic local test sites in Lambeth, and should book an appointment at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.