COVID-19: Government gives green light to community testing

Issued on behalf of Hampshire County Council. 

Following Government approval received today (22 Feb), asymptomatic testing for people going out to work will start across the county this week.

The six-week scheme aimed at those without symptoms of coronavirus who are regularly leaving home to go to work, and who are not covered by an existing workplace testing scheme, will roll out over the next few days.

People who are working from home or shielding should not attend a community testing site. Anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus - a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste - should book a test online or call 119.

The County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health, Councillor Judith Grajewski, said: “This is a hugely positive and important development in our response to the pandemic and our continued efforts to protect the health of residents. Around one in three people with COVID-19 display no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing. Community testing will help prevent transmission and break chains of infection, by identifying more cases quickly and ensuring that people are supported to self-isolate. Our teams at leisure centres, libraries and community centres have been working tirelessly to prepare their sites ready for the start of testing from this week, and I would urge everyone who has to leave home for work to come forward for regular testing to protect themselves, their loved ones and our communities.”

A total of 11 appointment-only community testing sites will become operational this week. Residents should check their district council website for launch dates and opening hours. The confirmed locations are:

  • Basingstoke & Deane – former South Ham Library
  • East Hants – Alton Sports Centre
  • Eastleigh – The Point
  • Fareham – Fareham College
  • Gosport – Thorngate Hall Community Centre
  • Hart – Hart District Council Offices
  • Havant – Havant Library
  • New Forest – Totton Health & Leisure Centre
  • Rushmoor – Farnborough Leisure Centre
  • Test Valley – Picket Twenty Sports Ground
  • Winchester – Winchester Discovery Centre

Councillor Grajewski added: “I would like to reassure anyone who is visiting these sites to access the usual services that stringent infection control measures are in place. The layout at each site has been carefully designed to ensure people can move around them safely to prevent any possible spread of the virus. Furthermore, social distancing will be maintained throughout the testing process and trained staff will be in attendance on site, to guide people through the testing process and ensure that tests are completed safely and effectively.”

How asymptomatic testing works

  • Tests can be booked online 24 hours in advance through any district website or on the County Council website and appointments should take no more than 30 minutes. Anyone who cannot book online should contact their district council, who will be able to book a test on your behalf.
  • You will be asked not to eat anything for 30 minutes prior to your test.
  • You will take a lateral flow test, which involves a self-administered swab of the nose and throat, under the guidance of trained staff.
  • Results will be confirmed after leaving the testing site by text message sent direct to your mobile (or to a nominated mobile phone belonging to a family member or friend, if you do not have your own).
  • You will be able to book two tests per week between three and five days after your first test throughout the six-week programme.
  • Anyone receiving a positive test result will need to follow self-isolation guidance, but will not need to book a follow-up test.