Part of local effort to suppress South African variant
A PCR test kit
Secondary schools and colleges in Wandsworth will receive PCR home testing kits this week to help assist with surge testing for the South African coronavirus variant.
People living and working in Wandsworth over the age of 11 were asked to get tested last week after a number of cases of the variant first identified in South Africa were detected in both Wandsworth and Lambeth.
There were some issues with people booking appointments to get tests at the beginning of the week, but more sites have since been added as well as more opportunities to pick up tests to do yourself at home.
These PCR tests are different to the lateral flow tests used as part of the routine asymptomatic testing. By using PCR testing, positive results can be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping to identify variant of concern cases and their spread in these boroughs.
The council says pupils and staff should also continue using twice-weekly rapid testing as normal.
Wandsworth’s Director of Public Health Shannon Katiyo said, “Residents should continue to follow the guidance that is in place – limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate in order to prevent passing on the virus. Remember hands, face, space – and fresh air.”
Once tests have been completed they should be returned to schools and colleges where they will be collected and sent for analysis by NHS Test and Trace.
Staff at the borough’s primary schools, nurseries and other early years settings can collect home testing kits for themselves from two collection points – Wandsworth Town Hall and the Battersea Sports Centre in Hope Street.
Completed tests should be returned to the same collection point from where they will be sent for analysis.
Arrangements are also being made to ensure testing kits can be made available to staff and pupils aged 11 and over from the borough’s network of independent schools.
There are six PCR test sites currently open across the borough and tests are also being offered at 23 local pharmacies. Additional test sites are likely to become available in the coming days. To book an appointment at either a mobile site or pharmacy visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/surge-testing.
People can also order a PCR test for home delivery at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
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.
Completed test kits should be returned to community collection points in the borough so they can be processed as part of the surge testing operation.
Do not return these test kits by post.
People without symptoms who are unable to book a test online, and don’t know someone who can book for them, can call (020) 8871 6555 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm for help.
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter
April 20, 2021