With much speculation around access to testing in England, Kate Blackburn, who is the director for Public Health in Wiltshire spoke about the myths surrounding coronavirus testing.
“If anybody has gone for a Covid test it should be because they’ve had symptoms or because they’ve been told to by a health care professional,” she said.
This, according to Mrs Blackburn, includes if you come into contact with someone else who has tested positive.
She said: “The problem with taking a test is that it could come back negative, but you could still be incubating the virus.
“Until we’re at a point where we can do mass testing on a daily basis, testing is only an appropriate way forward if you have symptoms.
“Having a test on the off chance or to allay your fears doesn’t work because the incubation period is 14 days.
If your child is self-isolating due to a positive case in their school bubble, the rest of the family does not need to self-isolate.
Mrs Blackburn said: “If you’ve been potentially exposed to a confirmed case, you must self-isolate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean other people in your household have to if you don’t have symptoms.
“It’s not helpful for people and two weeks is a long time, no one is saying its easy, but it’s the most effective way of making sure that people with infection aren’t spreading it further.
“There are people within our population, who, for them, Covid will not simply be a matter of a temperature or a cough.
“We as a population are the only thing that can stop that from happening to our more vulnerable residents. We are all in this together.”
Confusion over holidays abroad has been led by some companies asking holiday makers to test prior to travel, says Mrs Blackburn. However, she said, this goes against the national testing guidelines.
Testing capacity has been a hot button topic in the news for some time, Mrs Blackburn admits, but she said that it’s important that ‘we get maximise the right people being able to get their tests’.
She also said that no one should turn up to a local testing centre without booking in, as even if the centre does not look busy Mrs Black says that it is about the capacity in the labs.