Changes to Covid testing this week

3:42pm - 12 January 2022
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Changes have come in this week to Covid testing and self-isolation guidance - and more are coming from Monday - so make sure you know what to do.

From this week, if you’ve got no symptoms but get a positive result on a lateral flow test you no longer need to confirm it with a PCR, the more sensitive test that’s sent to a laboratory.

It’s important to still report the positive lateral flow result though, so numbers and trends can be monitored.

You must also self-isolate immediately. Members of your family may also need to isolate if they haven’t had a full vaccination course.

You can find out when to self-isolate and how long for on the NHS website.

Until Sunday, your self-isolation can end on day seven, after six full days, as long as you’ve had two negative lateral flow tests 24 hours apart, taken from day six.

From Monday (17 January), your self-isolation can end after five full days, on day six, as long as you’ve had two negative lateral flow tests 24 hours apart, taken from day five.

Lateral flow tests are to check for Covid if you don’t have any of the classic symptoms – a temperature, new continuous cough, or change to your sense of taste or smell.

If you have a temperature on day five you should stay in isolation until it passes, and get medical advice if it does not come down.

You can use lateral flow tests from day five if you still have a cough or change to your sense of smell or taste caused by Covid, as these can linger after the virus has cleared your system.

Keep testing

Please keep testing, whether you’re going out to meet friends, have school-aged children, work in a face-to-face job, and especially if you’re meeting up with someone who’s more vulnerable.

The best way to get a test is through the government’s online ordering system.

Capacity has been increased and kits are added throughout the day so keep checking if you get an out-of-stock message.

Some pharmacists also have lateral flow tests available.

Anyone who has difficulty using the online system could visit one of our mobile test vans, which travel around the area to get lateral flow tests to more people.

See the locations of the vans on our website. They are open daily, from 9am to noon.

If you do have symptoms, however mild, you should still order a PCR test and self-isolate until you get the result.

Book online or call 119.

Plan B continues

The Plan B coronavirus response is continuing until at least Wednesday 26 January, with some slight changes.

There will be a review of these restrictions before that time is up and if any need to stay in place beyond 26 January, there will be another vote in Parliament.

The current Plan B measures are:

  • face coverings must be worn in most indoor settings, including theatres, cinemas, public transport, shops and hairdressers
  • office workers should work from home where possible
  • certain venues and events are legally required to check that all visitors aged 18 or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption
  • the requirement for pre-departure Covid tests for travellers entering England has now been dropped, and travellers can now take a lateral flow test rather than a PCR within two days of arriving.

It’s important we continue to do all we can to reduce the spread of Covid in North Somerset because the risk of complications from infection is still very real and very serious.

You can see more detail on North Somerset case data on our website.

To help reduce the spread, meet outdoors if possible when catching up with friends and family.

If you do meet indoors, open doors and windows, take a lateral flow test on the day and don’t attend if it’s positive.

Get your jab

Getting your booster jab as soon as you can is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself, your family, friends and co-workers from the virus.

It’s not too late to get yours. Adults should all have been contacted by their GP to book their jab or you can also book through the national booking system.

Second doses of the vaccine will also be offered in secondary schools before the February holiday.

Book an appointment at a dedicated GP clinic or vaccination centre clinic using the national booking system or by calling 119.

Children are eligible for their second dose three months (90 days) after their first one. If they catch Covid-19 after their first vaccination, they must wait three months after their positive test before having their second dose of the vaccine.

Walk-in clinics are also open. Find details of local sites on the Healthier Together website.

If you’re over 18 you can also book an appointment for a first, second, third or booster dose at the Weston Hospital vaccine clinic.

Find out more about local opportunities to get vaccinated and details of eligibility at www.grabajab.net

If you’ve been invited but not had a chance to get any of your Covid vaccinations yet, it’s not too late.

Even one dose is better than none, so please book an appointment or get to a walk-in clinic as soon as you can.

Reducing pressure on NHS

All services across our area are still under significant pressure.

Think 111 first for all urgent but non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses, rather than visiting busy emergency departments and minor injuries units.

Call 111, visit 111.nhs.uk or download the NHS App.