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National lockdown: Stay at home

Variant testing in Tamworth and Lichfield

People who have been in contact with a person who works in Tamworth and has tested positive for the South African variant of COVID-19 are being offered a home testing kit to help public health authorities understand whether the variant has spread.

There is no evidence to suggest that the South African variant is more serious than any of the other variants currently circulating in the UK, so there is no need to be  alarmed. Testing will help us to find out if the variant has spread in our communities and if so reduce the risk of it spreading any further.

Key facts on the home testing programme

  • Staffordshire County Council, Tamworth Borough Council, Lichfield District Council and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are working with the Public Health England to organise testing for people who have been in contact with a person who tested positive for the South African variant.
  • Around 50 people will be contacted directly and will be provided with special testing kits to their homes on Friday 19 February.
  • Most of these people live in Tamworth Borough. A small number live in Lichfield District.
  • People who need to take a test will be contacted either by phone or by a visit to their home. If they are not in, a letter will be posted through the door to explain that they have been in contact with someone with the South African variant, and what they need to do.
  • People who are contacted should ONLY use the testing kit provided (rather than visiting a local testing site or ordering a test online) as we need to have the specific logging details provided for reasons of surveillance.
  • There is no other action for these people to take at this time. People only need to self-isolate if they have symptoms of coronavirus, have tested positive or they live with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should be tested for the South African variant in Tamworth or Lichfield?

People who have been identified as a contact of the person who works in Tamworth and tested positive for the South African variant of COVID-19 will be contacted directly and given a special home testing kit.

There are around 50 people who will be contacted about this directly. Most of these people live in Tamworth Borough. A small number live in Lichfield District. 

I’ve been contacted and asked to take a home test, what do I need to do?

If we have identified you as someone who has come into contact with the person who tested positive for the South African variant, we will get in touch with you.

We are working with Tamworth Borough Council, Lichfield District Council, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and Public Health England to provide you with a special home test kit and instructions on what you need to do.

The home testing kit will be delivered to you on Friday 19 February and we aim to collect it on the same day.

There is no other action for you to take at this time. You only need to self-isolate if:

  • you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell and/or taste)
  • you test positive for the COVID-19 virus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive

Which type of test will you be using for the home test? 

The home testing kit includes a PCR test.

I live with someone who has been asked to take a test, what do I need to do?

We are only testing people who have been in direct contact with the person who tested positive for the South African variant.

If you live with someone who has been asked to take a test, you don’t need to take a test.

I live in Tamworth Borough or Lichfield District, what should I do?

We will contact people who need to take a special home test to check for the South African variant.

If you are not contacted by us, you should just continue to follow the national lockdown guidelines and Hands, Face, Space precautions. If you have no symptoms and have to leave home for essential reasons we encourage you to get a regular rapid test at one of our community testing sites.

Our community testing sites are open seven days a week. You can book here and walk-ups on the day may also be available.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, continuous cough, loss or change to smell or taste) no matter how mild, you must self-isolate and book a standard COVID-19 test through the NHS, via the NHS COVID-19 App, online or by calling 119. 

I have been vaccinated - do I need to get a test?

Yes, if we contact you to ask you to take a home test, you will still need to get a test.

I am currently shielding - do I need to get a test?

Yes, if we contact you to ask you to take a home test, you will still need to get a test.

Are there any changes to existing lockdown restrictions?

No. Whether you live or work in Tamworth Borough or Lichfield District, you must continue to follow existing lockdown restrictions. You are required to remain at home unless for permitted, essential reasons.  If you can work from home, please do.

What happens after my test? 

Your test will be sent to a special laboratory to look for the South African variant.

How long until my test comes back?

PCR test results will be returned in 48 hours. Genomic sequencing (analysing the test sample for the South African variant) will be carried out after the initial positive test, and will take a few weeks.

I have COVID-19 symptoms, what should I do?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, continuous cough, loss or change to smell or taste), no matter how mild, you must self-isolate and book a standard COVID-19 test through the NHS via the NHS COVID-19 App, online or by calling 119. You should not attempt to take a symptom-free test. 

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