How will I know the person knocking at my door is working for you?
Our staff are contracted from London Borough of Harrow. They will all have ID from Number 8 Events Ltd on them. They will be wearing a “Test Centre” blue high visibility vest, be wearing appropriate PPE and will maintain a safe distance.
What personal details will a volunteer ask me for?
They will not ask for any personal information. They won’t ask for any banking information. They will not ask you to pay for anything. They will not require access to your property.
I heard you’d be knocking on doors in my area, but no-one called at my house.
We have identified an area around those postcodes across the country where the variant has been identified. However, we do not anticipate the need to test everyone who live within that postcode.
London Borough of Harrow and public health officials have determined the localities to be tested based on scientific guidelines.
They will contact you if you need to be tested. In addition to delivering door to door home test kits, Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) will be available in the area.
How can I get tested?
If you have COVID symptoms you should continue to get tested using the existing testing channels – by ordering a home kit for people with symptoms or going to a symptomatic test sites in your local areas.
For testing to detect the new variant, Mobile Testing Units will be deployed in local areas for those people who are leaving their house for work or essential shopping.
It is important that residents in new variant testing areas remain at home and follow lockdown rules, therefore home testing kits will also be provided.
When will my doorstep test be collected?
We aim to pick up tests from households within 2-3 hours.
How often will people get tested?
We are asking people to take one test in a two-week period.
Who can get tested?
We will aim to test as many people within these areas who are aged 16 and over who is asymptomatic.
Does testing hurt? What will I have to do if I have a home kit?
No. Some people find it slightly uncomfortable but that’s all. You need to push a swab up your nose and another one down your throat and then pop them into the container provided. Instructions are included in the kit.
Can I refuse a test?
Yes, testing is voluntary. We would urge you to take the opportunity if you are offered it. Testing will help us to find the virus, stop it being shared, and protect our community.
How long will it be before I get the results of my test?
As with all PCR tests results should be back within 48 hours, but in most cases they are usually back within 24 hours.
However the initial result will only determine if you have coronavirus. Further analysis needs to be undertaken to isolate the SA variant.
We will notify you if you have the SA variant in due course however the rules for self-isolation remain the same regardless of the variant.
I have a common cold. Will the test still work?
Yes it will still work.
Doesn’t more testing result in more positives, meaning we’ll all be in lockdown for longer?
No. More testing will help us find the virus and stop it being spread and multiplying.
How do I find out if doorstep testing will be coming to my area?
Households will receive a doorstep test and will have received a leaflet telling them to expect such a test. If you aren’t sure then please look at Harrow’s website where you will be able to see whether your home is in the doorstep drop area.
What if I have been in one of these areas recently?
Everyone should continue to follow the national guidance and book a PCR test if they develop symptoms.
We are in a nearby postcode, can we get tested?
We are focusing testing on those areas where we know we have confirmed cases of the variant. But anyone in the local area who is concerned of course can get a test.
Is the variant of concern the one that was first identified in South Africa?
We believe that it is, but we are conducting additional testing to properly sequence and identify the scale of any transmission.
Am I more at risk if I have the SA variant?
At present there is no evidence to suggest that this variant is any more severe than others.
Does this variant spread more easily?
Viruses often evolve and this is not unusual. We know that this variant is more transmissible. Public Health England are carrying out work as a priority to understand the potential risk this variant may cause.
Is this variant more deadly?
There is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it.
Should people be worried?
It is right that we should be cautious about new variants, we appreciate that people may be anxious in the current climate.
We are constantly on the lookout for any new variants, our ability to identify any early will allow us to deploy public health interventions to keep people safe.
We are investigating this new variant of virus which originated in South Africa. Viruses often evolve and this is not unusual.
We are carrying out work as a priority to understand the potential risk this variant may cause. It is important to say that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it.
The best way to stop infection is to stick to the rules – wash our hands, wear a face covering and keep our distance from others.
Should I still get a test if I have had the vaccine?
We are offering testing to everyone aged 16 and over – even if you have been vaccinated
Does the COVID vaccine protect against this variant?
PHE are continuing efforts to understand the effect of the variants on vaccine efficacy and there is currently no evidence to suggest that vaccines will be ineffective.
What is a PCR a test?
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample. The sample is tested in a laboratory.
Will the standard PCR tests identify this variant?
Are we excluding people who have tested positive for PCR in the last 90 days – as per current PCR testing guidance?
If you have tested positive for PCR within the last 90 days, you will not need to be tested unless you are already part of an existing pilot e.g. workplace.
Why are you using the PCR and not the quicker Lateral Flow test?
PCR tests to carry out genomic sequencing and tell us which variant of coronavirus is present, genome sequencing cannot be done on Lateral flow devices.
What is genomic sequencing?
Genomic sequencing is the process of testing a sample of the virus in order to map its genetic sequence. This is happening as part of continued surveillance studies to identify any new variants of virus that causes COVID-19.
Will PCR/LFTs detect it?
There is no evidence so far that PCR or LFT tests are unable to detect this variant. Research is ongoing to confirm this. PHE has requested a sample of the virus in order to perform tests in the laboratory . PCR tests do not distinguish between the variants.
Is this testing being offered in schools?
The test is offered to residents 16 years and over, this is not a schools-based initiative. Existing testing will continue in educational settings. We are offering testing to everyone aged 16 and over as cases are most likely to be detected in this age-group.
I have a relative in a care home locally – will they need to be tested too?
Regular testing is already routinely carried out in all care home settings. Therefore we will identify anyone in these settings with the new variant through our normal practices.
Information from Harrow Council can be found here
🦠 Over the past week, Harrow has seen 166 cases of coronavirus, which is a rise in 12 cases from last week. The rate per 100,000
is up to 66 in Harrow today; down from 175 just a month ago but this is a rise from 62 cases per 100,000 last week. The need to stay vigilant, to wear
a mask, wash hands & socially distance remains critical, especially with the emergence of the Covid variants in Harrow.
🧪 If you feel fine and are leaving the house on a regular basis – be sure to get a free rapid test and help stop the asymptomatic spread. Rapid test centres are opening
across Harrow and have stopped hundreds of people from spreading Coronavirus so far. 1 in 3 people with Covid do not display any symptoms & mobile units across Harrow
have already identified hundreds of people who did not know they were Covid positive. Book a free rapid test at the Beacon Centre, St Ann’s Shopping Centre, Harrow Arts
Centre, Harrow Civic Centre, or Shree Swaminarayan Temple Stanmore, open 7 days a week.
Book a test: https://www.harrow.gov.uk/test