9 out of 10 English pharmacies now offering rapid COVID-19 testing
9 in 10 English community pharmacies are now taking part in the latest, wide-scale rolling out of rapid coronavirus tests. These rapid tests are designed for use at home and are now available to the wider population, with or without symptoms, as the Government seeks to utilise testing as part of the lockdown easing process. The tests provide a result within 30 minutes and help to break the chains of transmission within communities.
The ‘Pharmacy Collect’ programme allows people in communities to access testing twice a week. This service is available to people aged over 18 without symptoms, who are able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of 7 rapid tests to use twice a week at home. Due to one-in-three positive cases of coronavirus not displaying any symptoms at all, it is important that people utilise COVID-19 testing to minimise the chance of asymptomatic spread.
An online checker has launched so people can find their nearest pharmacy offering free rapid test kits. All positive results from LFD tests must be followed up with a confirmatory PCR test within 72 hours. Confirmatory PCR testing will also mean variants of concern are detected more quickly. Each box contains 7 LFDs. This allows the person to test themselves twice weekly within a 3-week timeframe. This number of tests in the box factors in the potential for a void test. Rapid tests are now available through a variety of settings including: on-site testing at schools and colleges, the Pharmacy Collect service, a home ordering service, workplace testing and also existing community test sites.
“Pharmacies make an invaluable contribution our health service – they have gone above and beyond in response to COVID-19 to serve their communities. Now, they will play a key role in our rapid testing programme, which is a vital tool in reopening society in the months ahead”, said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.