Coronavirus testing for Islanders without symptoms is set to undergo major change over the coming days.
From Friday, 30 April, Isle of Wight Council sites are closing in Yarmouth, Cowes, Sandown and Ryde.
Instead, many local pharmacies across the Island will become the go-to places for people without symptoms to access free supervised testing on a regular basis.
This service is called ‘Pharmacy Assist’ and will be available from 16 pharmacies from Tuesday 4 May.
This is a drop-in service but anyone wishing to have a supervised test is advised to phone ahead where possible, to enable pharmacy staff to schedule appointments and reduce waiting times.
Residents can find their nearest participating pharmacy by visiting https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/ (sites will be live from 4 May).
Where can I collect home testing kits?
Free home testing kits can currently be collected from participating pharmacies across the Island. This service is known as ‘Pharmacy Collect’.
People can also order online for home delivery: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Are there any other changes?
County Hall, Newport, will be open all next week for supervised testing and collection of test kits. The County Hall site will close for good at 5pm on Friday 7 May.
From Saturday 8 May, Newclose will become PCR testing again only. It will be open seven days a week, from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
Simon Bryant, the council’s director of public health, said: “One in three people with coronavirus do not have any symptoms and so can pass on the virus without knowing it.
“Regular, twice weekly testing for people who do not have symptoms is therefore a vital weapon in our armoury in the fight against the virus.
“Rapid testing on a regular basis gives us all peace of mind that we are not putting our family, friends, co-workers or communities at risk, and pharmacies offer a quick and convenient means of getting a test or collecting a kit to self-test at home.
“Make test-record-repeat part of your weekly routine to help suppress the spread of the virus and protect the people around you.”
Simon added: “I would remind everyone that a positive result from a lateral flow test means you must self isolate immediately and book a follow-up ‘PCR’ test within 48 hours.
“If you have a negative result from a lateral flow test, you must still follow ‘hands, face, space’ guidance. These simple behaviours and regular testing will help us keep infection rates down and getting us safely on the road to a summer of freedoms.”
Stay up to date with the changes here: https://keeptheislandsafe.org/testing/