COVID-19: Keep testing to keep safe this Easter

Hampshire County Council is urging households of nurseries, schools and colleges, and anyone who is going out to work, to continue self-testing at home during the holidays

The County Council’s Director of Public Health, Simon Bryant, said: “With people now allowed to gather outdoors in groups of up to six or in two households, many of us are looking forward to reuniting with family and friends over the Easter weekend.

The cautious relaxing of socialising rules has given us all a reason to feel optimistic as we head into the school holidays. But we know around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus don’t have any symptoms, so it’s crucial that we continue to do everything we can to minimise our risk of exposure so we can all mix and celebrate safely.

That includes following hands, face, space guidance, letting in plenty of fresh air into our homes and continuing to test at home twice a week for anyone going out to work, as well as households or bubbles of educational staff and children at nursery, school or college.

This is particularly important if you are meeting up with elderly relatives or someone who has been shielding.

“Testing without symptoms helps identify positive coronavirus cases quickly, so that we can support people and their close contacts to self-isolate and prevent the virus from spreading in our communities.

I urge everyone who is eligible to continue taking advantage of free, rapid and regular testing, for peace of mind that you and your loved ones are protected. 

“Educational staff, parents, secondary pupils and college students should continue testing at home twice each week throughout the Easter holidays, and into the summer term, and to report results as positive, negative or void. Tests for eligible households will need to be done before returning to school or college for the summer term, either the night before, or morning of, the first day back, to find and isolate any positive cases.” 

The Regional Testing Site at Southampton Airport and walk-through local testing sites around the county are open over the bank holiday Easter weekend for collection of free test kits. Locations and opening times are available online. It is important not to attend a test site outside collection hours.

The following groups can collect free asymptomatic COVID-19 test kits, for use at home twice each week:

  • anyone who is going out to work and is not getting tested through a workplace scheme
  • secondary school pupils and college students
  • staff of primary and secondary schools, nurseries and colleges
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of nursery children, primary and secondary-age pupils and college students
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of staff of nursery-age children, primary and secondary-school age children, and college students
  • adults working in the wider school community, including supply teachers, bus drivers and after school club leaders

The Department for Education has published guidance on how staff in early years settings – such as school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools – can access regular rapid coronavirus testing. Further COVID-19 guidance for schools, nurseries, colleges and universities is available on the Government website.

Rapid home test kits should not be used by anyone who is experiencing any of the symptoms of coronavirus. Any adult or child of any age with symptoms must follow self-isolation guidance and book a PCR test.

Further information about how to collect test kits for use at home, and how to book a test with or without symptoms, can be found on the County Council’s coronavirus web pages.