Rapid flow testing rolled out to high priority wards

Published: Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Residents living in Queenstown, Bedford, Roehampton and Putney Heath wards are being invited to apply for an asymptomatic COVID-19 test, for people not experiencing symptoms, as part of the council’s strategy to identify more positive cases, reduce the spread of infection and protect lives and livelihoods.

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Click on the image to see how lateral flow tests work

We know that up to one in four people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but that does not mean they are not infectious. Lateral flow devices (LFDs) are one of the tools being used to help us to detect and fight COVID-19. These tests can be used to detect individuals with no symptoms of the virus that we would not otherwise be able to find.

The borough is one of a number of local authorities who signed up for the roll out of the rapid turnaround, lateral flow tests – which can give results in under an hour, without the need for laboratory processing. This is in addition to the symptomatic testing, that is already available in the borough for those displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

Initially, Wandsworth Council used the lateral flow tests for council staff who work with vulnerable adults and children. However, as the virus continues to spread across London, the tests will now be made available to other local people.

Initially this includes residents aged over 18 living in the wards who currently are seeing the highest rates of positive cases of COVID-19.

From today, if you live in Queenstown, Bedford, Roehampton and Putney Heath, you can go online and book a test. The testing centre is in the Civic Suite, in Wandsworth. Maps of the three wards can be viewed at the bottom of this page. 

The council is also exploring the expansion of testing to other local groups and organisations – including secondary schools, unpaid carers (via local organisations), respite care and day centre staff and clients.

This programme of testing will be further expanded to other local wards in the coming weeks. Residents will be advised via the Council’s website, social media, e-newsletter and postal letter when they can apply.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “We now know London will be moving into Tier Three and whilst the number of positive cases in Wandsworth remain low compared to other parts of London we are still seeing an increase.

“I know and appreciate the efforts everyone is making to be responsible and to try and prevent the spread of the virus. But it is now more important than ever for us all to follow the national guidance to keep the rates down and our loved ones safe.

“These rapid tests will help people to get tested and be sure that at that particular moment they are COVID-19 free. Those testing positive can take immediate action and self isolate – reducing the impact on the wider community.

“Rolling out this kind of testing is a really big undertaking and unlike other boroughs, we do not have support from the army or other agencies.

We are therefore going to start by focusing on those wards that have the highest number of cases, and this will be rolled out to other parts of the borough as we go along.”

How to book a test if you DO NOT have any COVID-19 symptoms and live in Queenstown, Bedford, Roehampton and Putney Heath:

If you live in ANY ward in the borough and you DO have COVID-19 symptoms:

Currently anyone who has one of the main symptoms of a high temperature, new cough or loss of taste or smell must self-isolate immediately and book a test and receive their results in 48 hours.

Additional walk-in testing facilities will be opening up in the borough. When you book a test you will be given the option of a test centre based on nearest location to you and availability. If you are displaying symptoms, apply for a test online.