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Rapid flow testing rolled out to high priority wards

Release Date: 15 December 2020

Residents living in Heathfield, Hampton North and West Twickenham 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.

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 and hour, without the need for laboratory processing. This in addition to the symptomatic testing, that is already available for those displaying COVID-19 symptoms at three venues across the borough.

Initially, Richmond 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 Heathfield, Hampton North or West Twickenham, you can go online and book a test. The testing centre is in York House in Twickenham. These tests are administered by yourself in the presence of a trained supervisor.

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 and e-newsletter when they can apply.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“We now have confirmation that London is moving into Tier Three from Wednesday. Whilst the number of positive cases in Richmond upon Thames is lower than in the rest of London – we are seeing an increase.

“It is incumbent on us all to be responsible for not just our own health – but the health of our families, friends, people we meet in the street, come across in the super market, and of course the staff in all the businesses who keep our borough moving.

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

“Rolling out this kind of testing is a huge exercise. Unlike other boroughs, we do not have support from the army or other agencies. So, we have to be strategic. We are therefore focusing on those wards that have the highest number of cases.

“I ask those people wanting this test in other parts of the borough to be patient. We will expand the programme in the New Year.”

How to book a test

You can only book a test if you do NOT have any COVID-19 symptoms and live in Heathfield, West Twickenham and Hampton North:

  • If you have access to the internet, visit the Book a lateral flow test page. 
  • If you do not have access to the internet, call 020 8891 1411

This testing is entirely voluntary. Booking is essential to reduce the spread of the virus through the community.

If you have symptoms

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.

There is a testing centre at Twickenham Stadium, regular testing available at Old Deer Park in Richmond and an additional walk-in testing site at the St Mary’s University Broom Road sports campus in Teddington. When you book a test you will be given the option of a test centre based on nearest location to you and availability. The testing sites are currently showing good availability. If you are displaying symptoms, apply for a test online.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P493/20

Updated: 24 March 2021