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Mass testing FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council has a very high number of cases of Covid-19. The numbers are amongst the highest in Wales.

 

By piloting mass testing, we hope to identify more positive cases, and help those who do test positive to isolate to prevent them passing it on to anyone else. This should reduce the spread of the virus in the community.

The pilot is being run by the Welsh Government, UK Government, Merthyr County Borough Council, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and the Ministry of Defence, with logistical support from the Armed Forces.

Everyone living, working and studying in Merthyr Tydfil County Borough is being offered a test. Anyone aged 11+ without any symptoms can have a test, but children under 18 will need parental consent. The more people who get tested the more chance we’ve got of reducing the spread of the virus.

People with symptoms should also get tested but need to book a test either by calling 119 or  go here https://www.merthyr.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-centres/drive-through-coronavirus-testing-centre/

There will be 14 sites in total. From Saturday 21 November people without symptoms can get a test in Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre 9am-7pm seven days a week.  More details about where else you can get tested will be added when we have them.

If you have symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change to taste or smell) you should get tested at one of the other test centres – you can find details here: https://www.merthyr.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-centres/ or call 119 to book a test.

Yes it will but we can’t confirm the details of where and when yet but will put the details here when we can.

No – there is no booking system for this type of testing. You should just turn up at one of the testing centres.

Testing as many people as possible will tell us more about how the virus is spreading in Merthyr Tydfil. We need to get the virus under control and this is the only way we will be able to stop it spreading. It will only work if lots of people come to be tested.

Knowing who has Covid-19 and offering them support to help them isolate will stop them infecting others, by reducing the number of people they spread it to we can reduce the transmission rate in the community.

Everyone living, studying and working in Merthyr Tydfil should have two tests every 7 to 10 days, and people can request more if needed.

If you have already had a positive test within the past 90 days, you should get tested again UNLESS you are positive and in your 10-day isolation period.  In that case, you should not get retested and should remain in isolation.

If you have previously been part of the Shielding List, you will have access to a free home test kit.  In the next few days you should receive a letter to inform you of this.  If you do not receive a letter please contact 01685 725000.

Pupils aged 11-18 who attend schools in Merthyr Tydfil or Merthyr Tydfil College will be offered a test at their school and college. Parents are being sent letters asking if they are willing to consent to their children being tested. The council is working with partners and the school nursing service to facilitate the voluntary programme within schools. If parents do not want their children to have a test, that is fine.

Those attending schools outside the county borough need to go to one of the test centres. Further information will be sent to these families.

All primary school teachers will be offered a test at their local secondary school, and all secondary school teachers will be tested in their own schools.

We are trying to find a way of getting tests to people’s homes if they can’t make it to the test centre. We’ll put more information on here and let people know if they can order home test kits.

Everyone will be tested using the new Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) which can give results within 30 minutes, without the need for processing the swabs in a lab. This is the first time they will be used in Wales.

Those being tested will swab themselves then give the swab to a trained technician to process on the spot using the Lateral Flow equipment.  

You will need to self-isolate in your car, or at home if you don’t have a car, while you wait for your test result. If you have a positive result you’ll need to come back to the test centre to have a PCR swab test.  If you can’t get back to the leisure centre, continue to self-isolate and call 119 or book a test here:

https://www.merthyr.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-centres/

No, even if you only work in the county borough.

People will need to take a smartphone or give their email address.  If you don’t have a phone, you will be asked to give the phone number of a trusted person. This is so you can get your test results.

We can’t predict how long the queues or wait will be, but please be assured we’ll have safety measures in place, and we would expect everyone who turns up for a test to social distance and wear facemasks.

No the tests don’t hurt but can be a bit uncomfortable but only for a few seconds.

The Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) tests can provide results in around 30 minutes, without the need for processing the swabs in a lab. You’ll need to isolate in your car while you wait for your result, or go straight home if you don’t have a car.

If you test positive via a LFD test you will need to have a traditional PCR swab test. Results for the PCR swab test will take longer, as they will be processed in a lab. Results are usually ready within a few days.

Lateral flow tests results will be sent via a text message or email.  The PCR swab test results will also be via text message or email.

It’s important that you self-isolate while you wait for your test results in case you have COVID-19. Ideally, you should wait in your car if you have one.  If not, you should go home.

If you test positive via a Lateral Flow test, you will be asked to come back to the leisure centre for a PCR swab test. If you can’t get back to the leisure centre for any reason you should call 119 or go to the Council’s website to book a test online.  If you have to take a PCR swab test, we will ask you for details of your close contacts so that they can be advised to self-isolate in case they have been infected.

It’s important if you test positive that you take a second PCR test, this provides confirmation that you have Covid-19 – it is a safety net to ensure we don’t ask people to isolate when it might not be necessary.  You will receive your lab test result from NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect via text message or email.  If your second lab test comes back negative you and your contacts can stop isolating.

If you have Covid-19 you must self-isolate for 10 days. Everyone else in your household and your close contacts will also need to self-isolate but for 14 days.

If you test negative, you will continue to follow the preventative national measures for Wales for stopping the spread of the virus:

  • Stay out of each other’s homes, except in very limited circumstances
  • Limit the times you leave your home, the distance you travel, the people you meet and how often you meet others indoors.
  • maintain social distancing, including outdoors
  • Work from home if you can
  • Wash your hands regularly and follow other advice on hygiene

Self-isolate if you do later show symptoms of Covid-19 and immediately book a test by calling 119 or visiting here to find your nearest test centre: https://www.merthyr.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-centres/

If you are on a low income you can apply to receive a £500 payment if you have tested positive for Covid-19 or you are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. 

 

The payment is available to people on a low income who are unable to work from home and would lose income as a result of self-isolating. To be eligible, people must be self-isolating, unable to work and in receipt of Universal Credit, on another specified benefit or otherwise be able to demonstrate they are on a low income.

People can apply for the payments via their local authority–https://www.merthyr.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-support-payment/

Positive results from tests will be collected by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect and are published as part of the daily case numbers, including how many positive cases are detected with this new method of testing. It is only the results of the PCR swab test that can be inputted into the app. The results of the lateral flow device test can’t be added into the app.

All residents and workers will be offered repeat Covid-19 testing from Saturday 21 November until 11 December.

The progress of the pilot will be monitored closely to consider its impact and whether this approach would be helpful in other areas of Wales.

The military are providing their organising and logistical expertise, building on their experiences of assisting with mass testing in Liverpool.

No. We have capacity to issue thousands of Lateral Flow Devices tests and required PCR tests each day.

NO. All the Covid-19 tests that are part of the pilot scheme are free.

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