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Partners working to support national problems with booking COVID tests

Nurse providing a COVID test in the drive thru centre

Whilst there are some problems across the UK in the booking of local COVID-19 tests; Hywel Dda University Health Board is assuring people that local tests are being carried out in all three counties.

The health board is aware of difficulties reported by local people in accessing tests via the UK Booking Portal and 119 bilingual telephone service. This is due to an increase in demand for COVID-19 tests across the UK.

In some cases, the site is not showing access to local testing sites and only showing testing available in eastern parts of Wales, England or Scotland. At other times, the system is completely unavailable.

The Welsh Government has raised the issue with the UK Government.

Director of Therapies and Health Science for Hywel Dda University Health Board Alison Shakeshaft said: “Please be assured that we do have local testing capacity within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire and we are speaking with partners to support resolution of the booking issues. Local people should not need to travel excessive distances to access a test.”

Tests are available via appointment only to members of the public at the Showground in Carmarthen; Canolfan Rheidol in Aberystwyth and Pembrokeshire Archives in Haverfordwest. These are drive-through sites, please do not turn up on site on foot or without an appointment as you will be turned away.

Hywel Dda University Health Board also has several venues for the testing of patients coming into hospital or undergoing certain treatments, across the three counties. These venues are not publically announced as they are for a target audience, by direct appointment, and are subject to different opening times and to change.

Alison said: “Thank you to our communities for working with us to Keep Hywel Dda Safe.”

How and when to book a test?

Members of the public can help by booking test appropriately, only when they have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms.

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • loss of or change to sense of smell or taste

To book a test, visit the UK Booking Portal, or ring 119. If you experience a problem with the system, please try again later in the day or evening as test appointments are refreshed.

If you or a member of your household develop any of these symptoms, the entire household should immediately self-isolate. This means staying at home, even if your symptoms are mild. To protect others, you must not attend school, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or go to or to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You should book a test for the individual with the symptoms. It is unnecessary to test the entire household if they are not symptomatic.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They can return to school/work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so.

Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team who will advise you further.

If the test is negative, self-isolation can end for everyone, children may return to school and parents can return to work if they are well enough to do so and as long as nobody else in the household has developed symptoms.

For non-household contacts, if a person has been in contact with an individual experiencing symptoms, they should carry on as normal until that individual receives their test result. If this is positive, the Test, Trace, Protect Team will contact those people identified as contacts and advise accordingly.