To help keep everyone in the borough safe, Islington Council has launched four Covid testing sites around the borough using rapid tests supplied by the NHS, and is offering testing to key workers as part of the UK-wide effort to drive down transmission rates.
Roughly one in three people have the coronavirus without showing symptoms, and could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Extending testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and help break chains of transmission.
The council is offering free Covid tests (known as Lateral Flow Tests) to key workers who are not showing symptoms of coronavirus at four locations around the borough.
The test helps to identify people who unknowingly have the virus, and so enables them and their contacts to self-isolate, helping to stop the spread of Covid-19. The test takes around 15 minutes and provides a result within an hour.
Key workers who live or work in Islington are invited to book a test online provided they are not showing any symptoms of coronavirus. Key workers are those who must leave home to work in a critical role, for example: those working in health or social care, education and child care, transport staff, those working in supermarkets, shops, cafes, takeaways and other food production and distribution. A full list is available on the government website. Participants will need to bring or have access to a phone that can receive text messages, or a tablet, to access the test process.
The no-symptom testing locations are:
- Arsenal: Arsenal Community Hub, 56 Benwell Rd, N7 7BA
- Upper Street: Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD
- Holloway: St Luke’s Holloway, Hillmarton Road, N7 9JE
- Old Street: Vibast Community Centre, 167 Old Street, EC1V 9NH
Anyone testing positive for the virus at a test site will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. Their close contacts will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 10 days to prevent them from also unknowingly spreading the virus.
It is important that anyone who is currently showing one or more symptoms of the coronavirus – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should book a symptomatic test by using nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. Tests for people booked this way will continue to take place either via a postal kit or at the Sobell Leisure Centre car park or Finsbury Leisure Centre.
Cllr Sue Lukes, Executive Member for Community Safety, said:
“Keeping Islington residents safe is the council’s top priority, and we are doing everything we can to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus locally.
“Non-symptomatic testing for COVID is a vital way to reduce the spread of this terrible disease, and to help our key workers who might be unknowingly carrying the virus to find out, stay home and keep our community safe.
“If you do have a positive test result and need to stay home, remember that support is available – Test and Trace Support payments and the council’s Resident Support Scheme can provide financial assistance to eligible residents, and the We Are Islington helpline is there to offer support getting food or medicine, or if you’re struggling to cope.
“It’s also important to remember that the test will only show if you’re infectious at the moment you take the test – it can’t protect you from catching coronavirus. So please remember to continue to practise social distancing by leaving at least two metres between you and other people where possible, wear a face covering in public places, and continue to wash your hands regularly for at least twenty seconds.”
- What are non-symptomatic tests?
Non-symptomatic tests, also known as Lateral Flow Testing, are for those who are not showing any symptoms of Covid. It involves a throat and nose swab with results analysed at the testing location. The result is sent to participants within an hour.
Clinical evaluation, including by Public Health England and the University of Oxford, show lateral flow tests are effective in identifying people who do not have symptoms, particularly those with higher amounts of virus who are most infectious. Since the test results are rapid, this means that people can start to self-isolate and protect others before they start to experience any symptoms. The tests do not identify all non-symptomatic infections, and it is important that people consider testing as just one part of staying safe and managing their own risk and risk to others.
- What’s the benefit of non-symptomatic rapid tests/lateral flow testing?
Rapid testing aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus in the highest risk areas. Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms, but can still pass it on. Key workers have to be out and about as part of their work, and often need to interact with other people. Testing can help people to identify that they have the infection earlier and and then to self-isolate, protecting others and reducing the spread of the virus.
- Who can get tested?
The tests are being offered free to key workers who live or work in Islington, who are not showing symptoms of the coronavirus. A full list of key workers can be found on the government website.
For more information on non-symptomatic Covid testing and to book a test please visit the council’s website.