Changes to PCR testing following positive Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) have been introduced from 11th January), affecting Walsall residents.
Under the new guidance, anyone in England who receives a positive LFT result regardless of their vaccination status should report their result on gov.uk or by calling 119. They must self-isolate immediately, but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test.
After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced.
Anyone who tests positive will be able to leave self-isolation seven days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive two negative lateral flow test results, 24 hours apart, on days six and seven.
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health, said: “COVID-19 continues to be more prevalent than ever before in Walsall, with cases continuing to increase rapidly. With the levels of COVID-19 being so high, we can be confident that anyone who tests positive using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) does have COVID-19.
“If you develop symptoms or feel unwell and are unable to access a PCR, please immediately begin to self-isolate and keep trying to book a PCR as more appointments become available throughout each day.
“We continue to experience extremely high demand for both LFTs and PCRs. This change in guidance will help to curb the spread of COVID-19 and keep the PCR tests available for those who need them the most.
“Remember ‘hands, face, space’ when out and about, and please continue to wear face coverings when in indoor spaces or on public transport. It is also important to keep areas well ventilated at home and in the workplace to lower the risk of catching or spreading the virus.”
Councillor Stephen Craddock, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: “I know changes to national guidance can be confusing however, if you get a positive result then please stay at home and help stop the spread of the virus.
“It is important that everyone reports their result, after which they will be contacted by contact tracers. This will help us identify any close contacts and reduce the spread of the virus in Walsall.
“Some residents may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate or you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate. If so you will need a PCR test.
“I would like to thank the vast majority of Walsall residents who are currently abiding by the guidance and helping to curb the spread of infection.
Those who wish to apply for a TTSP can do so on the Walsall Council website at Coronavirus (COVID – 19) help & support for Walsall residents.