Residents in Somerset now have access to assisted Covid testing via 19 local pharmacies as the county takes another important step in the roadmap out of lockdown.
Somerset’s Director of Public Health, Trudi Grant, pictured, is encouraging everyone to access free, regular, rapid Covid testing.
This regular testing is for people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 and is important because it helps to find cases which would otherwise go unidentified, as well as contributing to the process of identifying and suppressing new variants of concern.
So far, 19 Somerset pharmacies below have signed up to provide assisted testing, so if you have never used a Lateral Flow (rapid) test before, it is a great way to be shown how to do the test correctly.
You can then collect kits and do the testing at home. Or this service might help those people who cannot perform the test on themselves for any reason, allowing them to participate in regular rapid testing.
Somerset residents can access rapid testing in several ways. Visit one of the 19 pharmacies below that are currently signed up to the assisted testing scheme.
Somerset pharmacies signed up for assisted testing
|Eightlands Ltd||Cranleigh Gardens Pharmacy||Cranleigh Gardens, Bridgwater||TA6 5JS|
|John Ware Ltd||Alcombe Pharmacy||65 Alcombe Road, Minehead||TA24 6BD|
|John Ware Ltd||Creech Medical Centre||Creech Medical Centre, Hyde Lane, Taunton||TA2 5QW|
|John Ware Ltd||Merriott Pharmacy||2 Broadway, Merriott||TA16 5NQ|
|John Ware Ltd||Options Pharmacy||61b West Coker Road, Yeovil||BA20 2JD|
|John Ware Ltd||Porlock Pharmacy||High St, Porlock||TA24 8PT|
|John Ware Ltd||South Petherton Medical Centre||Bernard Way, South Petherton||TA13 5EF|
|John Ware Ltd||Staplegrove Pharmacy||Unit 1&2 Livingstone Way, Staplegrove, Taunton||TA2 5QW|
|Milborne Port Pharmacy||Milborne Port||10 High Street, Milborne Port, Sherborne||10 High Street, Milborne Port, Sherborne|
|Touts Pharmacy||Tours Cheddar||Roynon Way, Cheddar, Somerset,||BS27 3RB|
|Touts Pharmacy||Touts Street||82 High Street, Street, Somerset,||BA16 0EN|
|Allcures Ltd||Minster Pharmacy||15 Silver Street, Ilminster||TA19 0DH|
|Allcures Ltd||Preston Grove Pharmacy||Preston Grove, Yeovil||BA20 2BQ|
|Allcures Ltd||Quantock Pharmacy||11 Swain Street, Watchet||TA23 0AB|
|Axbridge Pharmacy||Axbridge Pharmacy||The Square, Axbridge, Somerset||BS26 2AR|
|Jhoots Pharmacy||Jhoots Blackbrook||Blackbrook Medical Centre, Lisieux Way, Taunton||TA1 2LB|
|Jhoots Pharmacy||Jhoots Victoria Park Dr Bridgwater||Victoria Park Dr, Bridgwater||TA6 7AS|
|Jhoots Pharmacy||Jhoots Somerset Bridge Bridgwater||Somerset Bridge Medical Centre Stockmoor Park Estate, Taunton Road, Bridgwater, Somerset||TA6 6LD|
|Superdrug Stores PLC||Superdrug Yeovil||15 High Street, Yeovil||BA20 1RQ|
*please check the opening hours before visiting/booking.
If you want to collect a kit and perform the test on yourself at home, there are several ways of doing this. Details of the test and collection site locations, dates and times for the services in Somerset are available here: Find where to get rapid lateral flow tests – NHS (test-and-trace.nhs.uk)
Many local pharmacies will provide a box of seven rapid tests to use twice a week at home. To find a pharmacy participating in ‘Pharmacy Collect’ use the following link and type ‘Somerset’ into the search bar to display the participating pharmacies. Find where to get rapid lateral flow tests – NHS (test-and-trace.nhs.uk)
Some workplaces will be providing tests, either within the workplace, or by sending them home. People are advised to check with their employers for details and use one of the other options if needed.
Finally, anyone who cannot collect their own kit or go for assisted testing can order a home testing kit which will be posted to them. Home testing kits can be ordered online here: Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Trudi, pictured, says: “Regular testing is one of the best tools we have in our fight against coronavirus, and is an easy way to help keep your loved ones and work mates safe.”
“I urge everyone without symptoms to use rapid testing twice a week. With up to one third of cases showing no symptoms, you will be playing a really important part in helping us to isolate asymptomatic cases and their contacts and break the chain of transmission. You will also be contributing to the process of identifying and reducing the impact of any new variants.”
“It is really important to understand the difference between rapid tests and the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. The rapid tests are effectively a screening tool for those displaying no symptoms.”
“The PCR test is still considered ‘gold standard’ and should be undertaken if you have a positive result with your rapid test, or if you are displaying any of the Covid-19 symptoms: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, loss or change in sense of smell or taste. It is this test that is sequenced in a lab and can identify variants of the virus.”
Michael Lennox, Chair of Somerset Local Pharmacy Committee, adds: “It’s fantastic to see the launch of this service in Somerset and great to see community pharmacy taking an even greater role during the pandemic to support people in Somerset.”
“We know that people will really value having the additional choice in location and that pharmacies can make a significant contribution to our Somerset testing programmes for covid-19”.
You can book a PCR test here: Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
More information on rapid testing in Somerset if you don’t have symptoms can be found here: Coronavirus – Get a test if you do not have symptoms (somerset.gov.uk)