Rapid local testing, known as surge testing, has been introduced by the Government in areas where cases of new COVID-19 variants have been detected

Surge testing takes place in addition to existing extensive testing, and will help to monitor and suppress further spread of the virus. People living in targeted areas will be contacted and encouraged to take this additional test. 

Variant cases in Hampshire

The County Council is working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care to organise a localised rapid testing programme in the Bramley area, north of Basingstoke. This follows confirmation of a single case of the South African variant. 

Am I affected?

Those living in the following postcode areas will be contacted by a representative of the County Council who will have formal identification regarding this additional test during week beginning 15 February.

What will I be asked to do if I live in the area?

You do not need to travel to a testing site or book a test.

A testing kit will be delivered in an envelope which will contain a testing kit and a box.

  1. The box is for you to construct and place your completed tests in for collection by us.
  2. The test is free, you will not be asked to pay or provide any financial information.
  3. You will be provided with instructions on how to register, carry out and repackage your test. You will need to register your test at www.gov.uk/register-home-test. See further instructions on how to register your test. If you need help registering, phone 0333 370 4000.
  4. Everyone over the age of 16 is strongly encouraged to take a test. 
  5. The testing team will not be able to complete the testing for you and they will not need to enter your household.
  6. The testing team will leave enough kits for everyone in your household to complete the tests and will return later in the day to collect the completed kits. Your sample will be taken to a laboratory so that we can test for the variant.
  7. If a member of your household has been unable to complete the test when the testing team visits to collect it, please inform the team.

Please don't call your GP as they will not have access to these results.

Do I need to self-isolate if I live in the area?

No.

Only those with COVID symptoms need to self-isolate or they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
If residents being asked to take a test have a vaccination appointment they can still attend, unless they have any COVID-19 symptoms, in which case they should follow national public health guidelines. 

If I have recently had a PCR/LFD test, do I need another?

  • If you have tested positive within the last 90 days you should not participate.
  • If you have had a test recently and the result has been negative, you are asked to test again because this sample is specifically being genome sequenced for the variant. Genome sequencing is a scientific/ laboratory process which will help public health agencies understand the way the virus behaves and is evolving.

How will I receive my results?

You will usually get a text or email with your result when it's ready. Most people get their result the next day, but it may take up to 3 days.

Please don't call your GP as they will not have access to these results

What should I do if I develop symptoms after the test?

  1. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new and persistent cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), however mild, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.
  2. You should also get another test straight away through the NHS Test and Trace Service by calling 119 or visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
  3. Once you have received your test result, you should follow the guidance on test results.

I am an essential worker, can I go to work whilst awaiting my results?

Yes, you can. However, if you develop symptoms you must self-isolate.

Does the COVID vaccine protect against this variant?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that vaccines will not offer protection against this variant.

Do I need to take any extra precautions?

No. You should continue to adopt the same level of precautions (hands, face, space) that you do now. 

Am I going to be at greater risk?

There is no suggestion that you are at any greater risk from the South African variant than from other strains of Covid-19.

Is there anything I need to do differently/ stop doing?

You should continue to follow the national lockdown rules, hands, face, space and travel only when it is essential.

Do I need to be tested or have regular tests if I have been in contact with people who live in this area?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should isolate for 10 days and book a test as soon as possible. If you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and should isolate for 10 days from the date you were last in contact with the positive case.

Do I need to self-isolate if I have been in contact with someone from this area?

You only need to self-isolate if you or they have symptoms, have tested positive or been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

Does the South African variant have the same transmission rate?

Viruses often evolve and this is not unusual. It is known that this variant is more transmissible. Work is being carrying out as a priority to understand the potential risk this variant may cause in terms of increased transmission. 

Is the South African variant more harmful?

There is no suggestion that the South African variant is any more harmful that other Covid-19 variants.

Who can I contact if I have further questions?

More information about the local testing programme in Bramley will be published week beginning 15 February.  

You can also call the Hampshire Coronavirus Support and Helpline on 0333 370 4000.
The helpline is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm

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