Public Health officials urge residents to take twice weekly COVID-19 tests

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

30 April 2021

Public Health officials urge residents to take twice weekly COVID-19 tests

This week’s surveillance report, an analysis of the county’s recent coronavirus cases and rates over the period 19– 25 April 2021, shows 222 residents have tested positive. That’s a decrease of 24% since last week and 62% lower than the week beginning 22nd March 2021.

Out of the ten-year age bands, secondary school age children (10 to 19-year olds) have the highest case numbers and working age adults (30 to 39-year olds) are a close second.

Now, and in the coming months, residents who have symptoms and those who are not showing any symptoms at all are being urged to get tested. Everyone in Northamptonshire, and across England, without symptoms is now able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing. The Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) are available for home use or at test centres, workplaces and schools. Results take as little as 30 minutes.

There are a variety of ways in which you can access LFT testing: Community-based Asymptomatic Testing sites have been set up across the county. You can also access tests through the Community Collect service, where you can pick up packs for home use, or if you can’t get to an asymptomatic testing site or easily access Community Collect, you can order test kits online for home delivery.

Residents are also being reminded to continue to stay 2m apart whilst meeting up to six people or two households outdoors, until there is a government review.

This week’s report showed Wellingborough, Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire all recorded decreases in total cases, but Corby, East Northamptonshire and Kettering saw small increases.

With the exception of South Northamptonshire, with an average weekly case rate of 10.6 per 100,000 population, all district and boroughs remain significantly higher than or similar to the national average of 25.2. Rates are significantly higher in Northampton at 50.3 cases per 100,000 population - the highest in the county, while Kettering is at 41.3 and Corby at 47.1, which has improved over the last few weeks but there is clearly further progress needed to lower cases toward the national average.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 vaccination in the elderly and most vulnerable people, and the positive impact lockdown has had on community transmission, the number of deaths continues to reduce to levels similar to that seen at the start of the pandemic and end of the first wave.

The number of patients in hospital due to COVID-19 has also been on a decreasing trend since mid-January, although the rate of decline has recently slowed. The latest data shows a total of 6 COVID-19 patients occupied hospital beds in Northamptonshire on 27 April 2021.

Northamptonshire’s residents are also being strongly urged to get vaccinated when the call comes for both the first and second dose to ensure that the county progresses through the remaining two steps outlined in the Government’s ‘Roadmap out of lockdown.’ However, once you are jabbed you must remain vigilant. Recent research may have revealed that the Pfizer and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines can reduce the risk of you passing COVID-19 onto others but the risk still remains so it’s vital that you continue to act like you have the virus and be careful with those around you. Care home and domiciliary staff who haven’t yet received their first dose are now able to use the national NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service – by calling 119 or booking an appointment online. For pregnant women reading this: We encourage them to discuss the risks and benefits with their clinician. There have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in relation to pregnancy. However, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that it’s preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available. There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed and, in the meantime, these two are preferable.

The community-based testing sites, as well as being a collection point for test kit orders, are listed below. Please note the temporary changes in the coming days.

  • Danes Camp Leisure Centre, Northampton (Closed on Sunday 2 May)
  • Opening of Sessions House, County Hall, Northampton on Tuesday 4 May. Opening Hours: 7am-6pm Mon, Tues and Fri. 9am-6pm Sat, 9am-4pm Sun.;
  • Lodge Park Sports Centre and Hazelwood Neighbourhood Centre, Corby
  • Brackley Leisure Centre, South Northamptonshire
  • Redwell Leisure Centre, Wellingborough (Closed between 6pm -9pm)
  • Daventry Leisure Centre, Daventry
  • The University of Northampton, Northampton - restricted to use by students and university staff only
  • North Pavilion Drive, Kettering (Closed on 6th and 7th May)
  • A “pop-up” centre is now open at Hall Park, Rushden Hall, the first of its kind within Northamptonshire (Closed on Bank Holiday Monday, 3rd May)

The test is called a Lateral Flow Test and involves a swab of the mouth and nose and provides a result within 30 minutes. The University of Northampton site is now restricted to students and university staff.

If you are not showing symptoms but must work with others, get the rapid test to find out if you are infectious and isolate if positive. It is vital however to understand that the test only tells you whether you are at peak infectiousness at the time of the test, it does not tell you that you are COVID-free. Levels of infectiousness change from the point of contracting the virus to the point you recover from it, which can take up to 14 days, during which time you may not have experienced any symptoms. It is therefore vital that you exercise all COVID-secure measures even if you get a negative result. You must continue to follow COVID guidelines and remember to wash your hands, wear a face covering indoors and maintain 2m distance from others.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, remember to get tested as soon as possible to find out if you are positive. If you have a high temperature, continuous cough or loss of or change in sense of smell or taste, you should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test. Tests can be booked on the Test and Trace app, online or by calling 119. 

If you have either type of COVID-19 test and it is positive, you must self-isolate for ten days – with your household also isolating for 10 days from when the positive person’s symptoms started, or test result was positive if they have no symptoms. Do not go to your workplace, to school or to the shops. Either work from home or report sick. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be helped by the NHS test and trace service to identify the people they’ve recently been in contact with so they can be alerted and also self-isolate if required.

Tests can be booked online, on the Test and Trace app or by calling 119. Home testing kits can also be ordered subject to availability.