Second phase of community testing gets under way

Testing at the science park at Emersons Green

Following the discovery of a mutated, more infectious, variant of COVID-19 in South Gloucestershire and Bristol, the second phase of additional community testing begins today with the introduction of ‘Collect and Drop’ sites, situated within libraries. 

The first phase began on Sunday following an announcement from the Department for Health and Social Care that Bristol and South Gloucestershire would be providing additional community testing for COVID-19. 

‘Surge’ testing is taking place seven days a week across specific postcode areas, including Mangotsfield, Downend, Fishponds, Hengrove and St George, for people aged over 16 without symptoms.

Three additional mobile testing units have been rolled out – at the science park in Emersons Green (open 9am to 4pm), Imperial Retail Park in Hartcliffe Way (9am to 3pm) and Bristol City Council Rapid Testing Centre in Wellington Road, St Judes (9am to 3pm).  More than 2,200 tests were carried out across the three mobile sites on Sunday, just 36 hours after notice to do so.

Initially there was no need to book an appointment but a booking process was starting today (Tuesday). The standard tests involve a swab of the nose and throat, which are analysed in labs, rather than lateral flow tests, also known as rapid tests.

If you cannot get to a mobile test site, you can collect a test from one of the Collect and Drop sites. In South Gloucestershire they are at Emersons Green Library, Downend Library and Staple Hill Library, all open every day from 9am to 5pm.

The five libraries being used in Bristol are Fishponds, Wick Road, Whitchurch, Henleaze and Junction 3. All are open from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

Once completed, tests must be put it into the sealed box provided and returned to the location it was collected from. The tests are not to be posted through a letter box.  

The city council says it’s working to establish and confirm a Sunday service. There could also be door-to-door testing services in certain circumstances.

The programme will run for two weeks and invites people over the age of 16, living or working, or in a support bubble with someone living within specified postcode areas and who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 to have a single test during this period. This will help health experts identify where the mutation is present and enable people to isolate if their result is positive.  

The city council first issued a statement a week ago, saying that 11 cases of a mutated variant of the virus first found in Kent had been detected in Bristol and that further investigations were under way to understand if had spread further. The following day South Gloucestershire Council confirmed the mutated variant was also in the district.

The postcode sectors are the areas eligible for testing without symptoms, but this does not mean the variant is necessarily present there.

BS1 3 (Stokes Croft)
BS2 0 (Easton)
BS2 8 (Cotham)
BS2 9 (St Pauls)
BS3 5 (Bedminster)
BS4 4 (Brislington)
BS5 0 (Easton, St George, Whitehall)
BS5 6 (Eastville)
BS5 7 (St George)
BS6 5 (St Pauls)
BS6 6 (Redland)
BS8 2 (Clifton)
BS8 3 (Clifton, only within city council boundary)
BS9 4 (Henleaze)
BS14 0 (Hengrove, only within city council boundary)
BS14 9 (Hengrove)
BS16 1 (Broomhill)
BS16 2 (Downend & Fishponds)
BS16 3 (Fishponds)
BS16 5 (Mangotsfield)
BS16 6 (Mangotsfield)
BS16 7 (Mangotsfield)
BS16 9 (Mangotsfield)
BS37 8 (Yate)