Tests for seeing if someone has had COVID-19 (coronavirus) are starting to be rolled out across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, for frontline health and care employees and hospital inpatients.
The antibody test tells the person if they have had the virus or not, but not about any level of protection or immunity from getting the virus again, and local health leaders are clear that anyone having this test should still adhere to important social distancing measures.
At this stage these tests are not being made available to the general public and therefore the advice is not to contact your GP practice or other local services until such time as Government guidance changes.
Victoria Rankin, Director of People for the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and chair of the Local COVID-19 Testing Task and Finish Group comments: “We are now in a position to start to roll-out the antibody testing for staff working in our local health system, and this is important as it will help us to understand how the virus has spread through our population.
“We initially will have a limited amount of testing kits, but we hope that this will increase over the coming days and weeks – which will help our capacity to test more staff. We will prioritise frontline health and care employees and hospital patients, and when we can increase this for the wider population, we will.”
Whilst the antibody tests are an important part of the local and national response to COVID-19, health leaders in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin are asking people to continue to adhere to social distancing measures, to continue to stop the spread of the virus. This includes keeping at least 2 metres away from people when outside and in other public areas, practising good hand and respiratory hygiene, and continuing to follow the Government’s advice on self-isolating if anyone develops potential symptoms of COVID-19, these include:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste