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Symptom-Free Covid Tests Now Available to All in Surrey

Published on: 1 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 1 Apr, 2021

A swab is taken for testing

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Covid testing for all adults without symptoms are available in Surrey starting today (April 1).

Asymptomatic testing has been available in the county since February, but restricted to people who have to leave home to go to work.

With lockdown rules starting to ease, Surrey County Council wants all those 16 and over to use this testing as part of the exit strategy.

Infected people who show no symptoms can still spread the infection to others unknowingly.

Visitors who have made an appointment at one of the 26 locations will be given a lateral flow test and receive the result from NHS Test and Trace by text and email, usually within 30 minutes.

A spokesperson for the county council’s public health said: “We think this is a great opportunity to increase people’s sense of security just at the time as the rule of six returns, especially if people are meeting anyone elderly and/or vulnerable.

“We are aware of the enduring perception from last year that securing a test could be quite difficult and frustrating. That is now no longer the case.”

Ruth Hutchinson

Surrey’s public health director, Ruth Hutchinson, is advising everyone to book a Covid test twice a week as part of the strategy to get back to normal life. The tests are free and same-day appointments are available

She said was only with vaccination, following the guidelines and having regular testing that we could “get back to normal”.

“From March 29 up to six people can meet outside,” she added. “One in three people with Covid don’t have any symptoms but they can still spread the virus.

“Remember the Government has been very clear that it will be data, not dates, that will ensure we reach the next stages of the ‘roadmap’.

“Please adhere to ‘hands, face, space, fresh air ‘. Our rates are going down but we’ve still got to be alert.”

Lateral flow devices (LFD) are effective at detecting cases with high levels of virus, so will detect the people most likely to spread it. The appointment will be a case of swabbing yourself, but with supervision.

“We know precision is more accurate when it’s done on-site, where there’s help if necessary,” said Ms Hutchinson.

Department of Health and Social Care said the risk of getting a false positive is less than one in 1,000, meaning if you get a positive result it is hugely likely you are in fact infected and will need to self-isolate at once.

Covid PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing underway

To be super-thorough, anyone testing positive will be asked to confirm it with a PCR test, which will allow genotype assay testing to spot any variants of the virus.

A negative LFD result is not as precise, and so should not give people a false sense of security. “Even with a negative test it’s really important to still follow the guidance,” said Ms Hutchinson.

The number of coronavirus cases is highest among the 30-39 age group. This is followed by those aged 10-19, which she attributes partly to secondary school age children already being tested twice a week.

“The 30-39 age group haven’t had the vaccine yet and society is opening up. They’re more likely to be out and about and possibly cannot work from home,” she said.

“With age 10-19, part of that is because we’re assessing them regularly so that’s a good thing, because then we can take necessary action.

“It’s a key part of getting back to normal, and the schools have been phenomenal.”

She expects all over-50s in Surrey to have been offered the vaccine by mid-April, when it will be opened up to the over-45s.

Anyone who actually has symptoms should book through NHS.uk or by calling 119, as tests for symptomatic people are done at different sites.

Booking available online or by calling 020 8865 1952 Monday-Friday 8.30am-6pm or Saturday 9am-5pm.

There are no testing facilities in Guildford at the moment but a spokesperson said: “The community testing team is constantly reviewing accessibility and working hard to improve coverage across the whole county – including Guildford.
“At the moment DHSC stipulates that asymptomatic sites should be within a 30 minute drive – the sites listed fall within the DHSC criteria for Guildford.

Here’s where to take a test:

Elmbridge

  • Claygate Pharmacy, The Parade, Esher, KT10 0PD
  • Wallis Jones Pharmacy, Manor Road N, Hinchley Wood, KT10 0SH

Epsom & Ewell

  • Lakehurst Road test centre, Ewell Court House, KT19 0EB
  • Nima Pharmacy, 56-58 The Broadway, Stoneleigh, KT17 2HS
  • Miles Pharmacy, Chessington Road, Ewell, KT19 9UR
  • Patsons Pharmacy, The Broadway, Stoneleigh, KT17 2HS

Mole Valley

  • South Street Pharmacy, South Street, Dorking, RH4 2EU
  • Frith Pharmacy, South Street, Dorking, RH4 2HQ
  • Medwyn Pharmacy, Medwyn Centre, Dorking, RH4 1SD
  • Day Lewis Pharmacy, The Parade, Kingston Road, Leatherhead, KT22 7SR

Reigate & Banstead

  • Harlequin Theatre test centre, Warwick Road, RH1 1NN
  • Victoria Pharmacy, High Street, Banstead, SM7 2NN
  • Day Lewis Pharmacy, Bell Street, Reigate, RH2 7AQ
  • Jubichem Pharmacy, Shelvers Hill, Tadworth, KT20 5PU
  • Day Lewis Pharmacy, Cross Road, Tadworth, KT20 5SR

Runnymede

  • Lloyds Pharmacy, Weir Road, Chertsey, KT16 8NF
  • Jays Pharmacy, Pooley Green Road, Egham, TW20 8AS
  • Egham Pharmacy, The Precinct, Egham, TW20 9HN

Spelthorne

  • Thameside Youth Centre, Langley Road, Staines, TW18 2AE
  • Trio Pharmacy, High Street, Shepperton, TW17 9AJ
  • Hive Pharmacy, Edinburgh Drive, Staines, TW18 1PJ
  • Broadway Pharmacy, Kingston Road, Staines, TW18 1AT

Surrey Heath

  • Day Lewis Pharmacy, Upper Gordon Road, Camberley, GU15 2HJ
  • Chobham Pharmacy, Windsor Road, Chobham, GU24 8LA

Tandridge

  • Chemitex Pharmacy, High Street, Caterham, CR3 5UA

Woking

  • Goldwater Lodge test centre, Wishbone Way, Woking, GU21 3RT

There are also other routes to access testing via home delivery and collection points – depending on eligibility – all detailed here https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/emergency-planning-and-community-safety/coronavirus/testing/symptom-free

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