Surge Testing Deployed in Wandsworth Due To South African Variant

People urged to get tested as new strain is often asymptomatic

Biggest ever surge testing operation underway in Wandsworth

Additional testing capacity is being set up in Wandsworth due to more cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 being identified in the area. The operation is the largest surge testing operation set up in the country to date.

Working in partnership with the local authorities, NHS Test and Trace is providing additional testing and genomic sequencing. 44 confirmed cases and 30 probable cases have been found mainly in Wandsworth and Lambeth since early March.

All identified cases are isolating or have completed their isolation, and their contacts have been traced and asked to isolate.

Facilities offering asymptomatic PCR testing have been deployed at Wandsworth Town Hall, Tooting Leisure Centre and the University of Roehampton. Further testing sites will be opened during the week and the council will also shortly be announcing further details of where tests can be picked up for use at home.

Home PCR tests for people with no symptoms can currently be ordered via GOV.UK.

Residents should select: ’My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms.’

Everybody aged 11 years and over who resides in, works in, or travels through these boroughs is strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

Enhanced contact tracing is used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern. This is where contact tracers look back over an extended period in order to determine the route of transmission. By using PCR testing, positive results can be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping identify variant of concern cases and their spread in these boroughs. People in Wandsworth are advised continue using twice-weekly rapid testing alongside the PCR test as part of surge testing.

People with symptoms should book a free test online or by phone so they can get tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent to them at home. Those without symptoms should visit the Wandsworth local authority website for more information.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser for NHS Test and Trace said, The cluster of cases of the variant first identified in South Africa found in parts of South London, predominantly the Lambeth and Wandsworth areas is significant. It’s really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community.

“PCR testing is now available for all and I would strongly encourage everyone, whether they live, work or travel through the boroughs, to get tested even if they don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus.

“Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms. By taking part you can protect yourselves and your loved ones and help us identify any possible new cases that would otherwise be missed, preventing further transmission and saving lives.”

To book an appointment for a test if you do not have symptoms click here.

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April 13, 2021