Torbay’s COVID-19 test sites close as free universal testing ends

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(Last Updated On: April 3, 2022)

Free COVID-19 testing has now ended for the general population in line with the government’s Living with COVID plan.

As previously announced, Torbay Council will continue to provide free COVID-19 LFD tests to some of the most vulnerable groups of people for a limited period.

This includes people visiting friends and family members in care homes, those caring for or visiting vulnerable relations in their own homes and the Bay’s volunteer workforce.

Volunteers provided lots of practical support to people in the community throughout the pandemic, often visiting vulnerable members of the community in their own homes.

Torbay Council has ordered a stock of tests that it will distribute through care homes and voluntary sector groups that support vulnerable residents. The council will review the demand and maintain the offer while case rates remain high.

Both of Torbay’s test centres, at Torre Valley car park and Torbay Leisure Centre car park, have now closed.

The sites offered PCR testing for people with symptoms of the virus.

Councillor Jackie Stockman, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, said: “I’d like to say thank you to all the staff who have been involved in the testing process since it was set up here in Torbay. Whether it’s delivering, transporting or processing tests, you’ve played your part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“A big thank you must also go to our residents for taking tests when they’ve had symptoms. This has really helped in our overall response to COVID-19 locally.

“Although free testing has ended for the general population, COVID-19 case rates remain high so please remember to follow the safe behaviours: wash your hands regularly, wear face coverings if you can, let fresh air in, stay at home if you’re unwell and, of course, keep up to date with vaccinations and boosters.”

The government has announced free testing will still be provided for:

– Patients in hospital, where a PCR test is required for their care
– People who are eligible for community Covid drug treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill if they become infected. People in this group will be contacted directly and sent lateral flow tests to keep at home for use if they have symptoms, as well as being told how to reorder tests
– Care home residents
– People working in some high-risk settings, including NHS staff and those in care homes and prisons. -These staff will be able to test regularly, without symptoms
– People will also be tested before being discharged from hospital into care homes.

Most visitors to adult social care settings, and visitors to the NHS, will not be required to take a test.

Anyone who tests positive will be advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they are most infectious.

Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home. They can go back to nursery, school or college when they feel well enough, and the fever has gone.

If you have symptoms and want to take a COVID-19 test, but don’t qualify for a free one, you may wish to pursue the option to purchase tests.

Torbay’s Trading Standards service is reminding people shopping for LFD tests to look out for scams, and to know who they’re buying from.

The NHS, government or Torbay Council public health will never send text messages or emails with a link inviting you a buy a test. It is advisable to order LFD tests from a pharmacy to reduce the risk of scams.

If you receive such a message, it’s from a fraudster. Don’t click on any links.

If you receive a text, forward it to 7726 or forward the email to report@phishing.gov.uk and then delete it.

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