AS COVID-19 case rates have steadily increased in the county recently, Wiltshire Council is urging people to 'think twice' to be able to enjoy the summer - by getting the vaccine twice, and, if symptom-free, taking twice-weekly lateral flow tests.
More people are mixing and meeting and enjoying the summer months with more of the hospitality and retail sectors opening up following the move to Step 3 of the roadmap in May, but the council is asking that people stay cautious.
Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health at Wiltshire Council said:
"With the good weather we've been experiencing and summer in full swing, we know people will be getting together more for BBQs, watching the Euros, visiting family and friends and making plans for the next few weeks and months.
Our COVID-19 case rates in Wiltshire have continued to steadily increase over the last three weeks, so if people want to enjoy the summer and any plans and holidays they are looking forward to, it's really important that they continue to do what they can to help reduce transmission of the virus. If people were to catch the virus or have been a close contact of someone who has tested positive, the required 10-day isolation period could get in the way of any plans they've made.
The rise in cases is affecting all ages in Wiltshire, but we're seeing the largest rates of infection in the younger age groups, many of whom are not yet vaccinated. I would urge people to please 'think twice' about playing their part to keep cases down and avoid missing out on their summer plans.
This means people should:
take a twice weekly lateral flow test if symptom-free
take two doses of the vaccine - all adults should book and attend both their first and second vaccine dose, as this is a crucial part of reaching Step 4 and protection going forwards. The second dose will strengthen people's protection if they were to catch the virus
Lateral flow testing has been rolled out because around one in three people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms. Rapid lateral flow tests help to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can give the virus to others.
Anyone who is symptom-free can collect lateral flow tests at the collection sites without booking, but people should check the opening hours of the site before they set off. There are seven Wiltshire Council-run collection sites that all offer the option to collect lateral flow test kits for use at home:
Devizes Leisure Centre
Bourne Hill in Salisbury
Monkton Park in Chippenham
Springfield Community Campus in Corsham
Calne Leisure Centre
The Vale Community Campus in Pewsey
Nadder Centre in Tisbury
All of the lateral flow test collection sites around the county including the council's sites and pharmacies can be found on this map, which includes opening hours and the status of the site: NHS Rapid lateral flow test sites and collection sites. To order tests for free home delivery, people can visit: www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.
People who have any COVID-19 symptoms of coronavirus should not use a lateral flow test. If people are showing any symptoms, they must book a PCR test.
As of 13 June, Wiltshire Council has handed out 3,657 boxes of lateral flow test kits from its seven community collection sites alone.
For more information on asymptomatic testing and the collection sites, people should visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus-testing.
People can book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination.