Image courtesy of Bristol City Council.
With cases of COVID-19 still high in Bristol – the city council has introduced two vans to go out into the community to make sure everybody has access to regular rapid tests.
The vans will be visiting specific areas in the city where uptake of tests is low – including South Bristol – and will have two testing assistants and one driver per van.
Testing assistants cannot administer the swabs to people directly but can supervise and answer any queries people may have when testing.
Those receiving rapid tests can either take them at the van or collect tests to take at home and residents do not need to book in advance.
Both testing vans will be operating for five days this week from 9am to 5pm, and operation is likely to increase to seven days moving forwards.
Bristol’s Director for Communities and Public Health, Christina Gray, said: “Although the majority of legal COVID-19 restrictions have now been lifted, this does not mean the risk of the virus has gone away.
“Case numbers in Bristol are currently very high. Thanks to the vaccine, fewer people are seriously ill in hospital, but hospitalisations are rising. An increasing number of people are reporting the effects of ‘long COVID’. Our frontline NHS and health staff are under considerable pressure and there is an impact on our businesses.
“In Bristol, we’re encouraging people to continue to do the most they can to protect themselves, one another, our frontline and public-facing workers and our vulnerable communities.
“Taking regular, rapid tests, reporting the results (whether the result is positive or negative) and self-isolating when required will reduce the spread of the virus, ease the pressure on our NHS and protect our family and friends, even if we are double vaccinated. We have found uptake of rapid testing to be lower within certain communities so we hope the vans will increase accessibility and ease of testing to all…”
Ms Gray said people needed to do everything they could to ” look out for one another” and thanked everyone for playing their part which was “making a difference.”
You can find the times and locations of the vans each week from Monday 2 August on the local authority website. One of the vans will be at Filwood Broadway on Friday 6 and Wednesday 11 August from 2-5pm.
There will also be a community rapid testing van at Broadwalk Shopping Centre on Saturday 14 August from 9am – 12 midday and Imperial Retail Park on Sunday 15 August from 10am – 4pm.
In addition to the vans, the tests can be accessed at the council’s rapid testing centre on Wellington Road or at local leisure centres including Hengrove as well as Jubilee Pool in Knowle. You can find more information about rapid testing at: www.bristol.gov.uk/rapidtest.
If you receive a positive rapid test result from a rapid test, you must self-isolate at home and book a free confirmatory PCR test on GOV.UK or by calling 119.
Support is available if you need to self-isolate. Check if you are eligible for an NHS Test and Trace Support Payment on our website.
If you need help to get food or do other essential tasks, call the We Are Bristol helpline on 0800 694 0184. You can also find a range of mental health support services on our website.