It is estimated that one in three people do not display symptoms if they have COVID-19, so testing for people with no symptoms will identify those who unknowingly have the virus. As infection rates rise significantly, every local authority is looking to launch local rapid testing centres to try to contain the spread of the virus. Rapid testing (both targeted and for the wider community) allows us find the virus among our residents, and – through self-isolation – stop people from spreading the virus. It will also help give us a more accurate picture of the number of cases in Merton.
Asymptomatic testing is different from other testing because you don’t need coronavirus symptoms to book a test and you should get the result within half an hour. It will help pick up more cases and help to stop the spread of the virus. If you test positive you MUST self-isolate and immediately book to have a PCR test to confirm your positive result through the GOV.UK site.
As the vaccination rollout will take a number of months; rapid testing and self-isolation is our best defence against the virus until widespread vaccination is in place.
However, getting a Covid-19 test does fall within the list of acceptable activities under national guidance, and we are also proactively urging all carers, key workers and volunteers to get a test.
You can book a test online through the council website. If you do not know someone who can book a test for you, you can call us on 020 8274 5210 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and we can help. Please remember that although the LFD test will pick up most infections, a negative result does not completely rule out COVID-19. Even if you receive a negative test, you must still follow the national lockdown guidance and stay at home as much as possible.
Key workers, volunteers and carers
For key workers, volunteers and carers, the rapid testing will be carried out by a network of up to 40 community pharmacies, where you will attend a short appointment, self-administer swabs under supervision of pharmacy staff, and you can either wait while the result comes through (around 30 minutes) or receive the result by text message from the national portal. These tests are only for people who are NOT displaying symptoms - if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should visit GOV.UK to arrange a PCR test