Five Rivers leisure centre in Salisbury has been turned into a rapid Covid testing centre.

The venue on Hulse Road is now open to give people otherwise unable to get tested, the chance to find out if they are infected.

Read more: Rapid testing launched at Five Rivers

But not everyone is eligible to book an appointment and the tests given out are different to the testing kits sent out to people with Covid symptoms.

Here's all you need to know about the newly-opened site and the service it provides.

Who are the tests for?

The only people who can currently book a test are those with no Covid symptoms, who work at small businesses (50 employees or less) and cannot work from home.

Asymptomatic people who work in private early years settings and childminders are also eligible.

What about people with symptoms?

Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms is eligible to get a free test by calling 119, visiting a testing site or requesting a test kit to be sent through the post.

To do this, visit the NHS website.

What tests will be carried out?

The tests used at Five Rivers are rapid lateral flow tests.

A lateral flow test detects the presence or absence of coronavirus from a swab or saliva sample.

The sample is mixed with a buffer solution, which releases and breaks up virus fragments.

Some of the solution is then dropped on to the lateral flow device.

The sample runs along the surface of the devices' absorbent strip, showing at the end a visual positive or negative result dependent on the presence of the virus.

Taking one of these tests shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes.

Results are usually available after half an hour.

Where can larger businesses get a test?

Larger businesses can register on the Government's website to order rapid lateral flow tests for employees if:

  • The business is registered in England
  • The business employs 50 people or more
  • Employees cannot work from home

However, this only applies to workers who are asymptomatic.

Do I have to book an appointment?

Yes. Just like Covid vaccination centres, only people with an appointment will be able to get tested at Five Rivers.

To book one, you can use Wiltshire Council's online booking system HERE.

What should I do before the appointment?

Wiltshire Council says people should avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes before taking the test to reduce the risk of spoiling the test.

What happens when I get there?

You will be asked to do a throat and nose swab.  

You will need to complete the swabbing yourself, supervised by a staff member.

You will also be asked to give consent to take the test, share personal information and register your details.

By registering for your test online, NHS Test & Trace can link you to your test sample and collect contact details to send you your result.

Once you have handed over the swab, you are free to leave the test site and you carry on your day. 

The result will be available within 30 minutes of taking the test.

It will be sent to you via SMS and/or email within a day of the test at the latest.

What if I test positive?

Anyone who receives a positive test result will be legally required to self-isolate.

How often should I take a test?

Once a week, the council recommends.

Why was the centre set up?

Around one in three people who have coronavirus do not display any symptoms.

Community testing helps reduce the prevalence of the virus in the community by identifying people who are infectious but asymptomatic and could spread the virus to others unknowingly. 

The more people get involved with rapid testing, the more likely it is to stop Covid from spreading.

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