A NEW rapid testing service for people without Covid-19 symptoms is coming to Newtown for four weeks from today (June 7).

Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) are urging residents across the county to help them stop the spread of coronavirus and say that, with new variants on the rise, it is more important than ever for people without symptoms to get a test.

People living, working and studying in the Newtown area can drop into the Park Street Day Centre in Newtown between 10am and 6pm, seven days a week for a free test. Free walk-in tests are available, with results in 30 minutes.

This pilot programme will help PTHB and Powys County Council to understand more about the spread of coronavirus in the county, and to prevent future outbreaks.

Stuart Bourne, director of public health for PTHB, said: “We know that one in three people can have coronavirus without displaying the classic symptoms of fever (high temperature), new continuous cough and loss of or change to sense of smell or taste.

“So, this programme will help us gather a very comprehensive picture of coronavirus in the Newtown area. The information we gather will help us to keep Powys safe, we hope it will support us all to further steps to the ease restrictions on our daily life.

“While coronavirus cases in the Newtown area are currently very low, we also know that new variants are a continuing threat for all of us in Wales. Testing people without symptoms (asymptomatic testing) is a useful tool to identify any new variants and help us stop them in their tracks.”

The asymptomatic testing centre will use lateral flow devices to check for the presence of coronavirus. Anyone who tests positive use the device will be referred to the town's testing centre for a PCR test.

Councillor Beverley Baynham, Powys County Council cabinet member for regulatory services, said: “A key benefit in choosing Newtown as the location of our asymptomatic testing centre is the ability to refer people quickly for a PCR test in the town.

“As well as helping us to understand more about the spread of coronavirus in Powys, this will be a vital opportunity for us to trial this type of mass testing centre operate in a rural setting.

“Testing will continue to be vital in preventing future waves of coronavirus, and in preventing further pandemics. So, our experience of running an asymptomatic testing centre in Newtown will also play a vital role in our preparedness for the future. It will mean that we have a tried and tested model of community testing that we can put in place quickly if we face outbreaks in future.

“We are encouraging everyone to come along and take the test. Our centre is open seven days a week from 10am to 6pm at the Park Street Day Centre until July 4. You can drop in any time between 10am and 6pm.”

The developments of the centre is a joint project between PTHB, PCC, the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the Welsh Government.

This service is for people who do not have Covid symptoms. People with symptoms should continue to book a test at our testing centres across Powys or request a test by post by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119 (7am to 11pm). People with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119.

It is open to all ages, but people under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What to do if you have a positive lateral flow test result

-If you get a positive lateral flow test you must self-isolate immediately for 10 days and take a PCR test at a test centre within 24 hours. You can book a test online on GOV.UK, by calling 119 between the hours of 7am to 11pm (calls are free) or via the NHS Covid-19 app

-If your PCR test is negative and taken within 24 hours of your lateral flow test, you can leave self-isolation

-If your PCR test was negative but was taken more than 24 hours after your lateral flow test you and your contacts must remain in self-isolation for the full 10 days from the date of the original lateral flow test

-If your PCR test is positive and taken within 24 hours of your lateral flow test, you must stay in self-isolation for 10 days from the original lateral flow test result

-If you don’t take a PCR test within 24 hours you must self-isolate for 10 days

More information about lateral flow testing in Wales is available from the Welsh Government website.

More information about coronavirus testing in Powys is available from the PTHB website at https://pthb.nhs.wales/find/ttp.