Following the changes to the rules about self-isolating on Monday 16 August, under 18s and those who are double vaccinated no longer have to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who has (or thinks they may have) COVID-19.
You should still self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
You also have to self-isolate if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19.
If you do have to self-isolate and are on a low income you can still apply for a NHS Test and Trace Support Payment.
To get a payment you must –
Be in low paid employment or self-employment,
Have a job you cannot do from home, and
Will lose income because you are self-isolating.
You must also be getting at least one of these benefits –
Working Tax Credit,
Income Related Employment and Support Allowance,
Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance,
This scheme will give people on a low income whose wages are reduced because they have to self-isolate up to £500.
If you do not qualify but would like to know more about other support available, you can:
#StopSIM – Halt the rollout and delivery of SIM and conduct an independent review”
This petition was started by the StopSIM Coalition. They are a group of mental health service users, survivors and allies calling on NHS England to halt the development and rollout of ‘Serenity Integrated Mentoring’ (SIM), created by the ‘High Intensity Network’ (HIN), with immediate effect, and to conduct an independent review.
They believe that SIM is an unacceptable step backwards in disability justice and has the effect of criminalising mental distress/illness. We share their concerns and ask you to sign this petition, calling on NHS England to:
Halt the rollout and delivery of SIM with immediate effect, as well as interventions operating under a different name, which are associated with the High Intensity Network (HIN).
Conduct an independent review and evaluation of SIM in regards to its evidence base, safety, legality, ethics, governance and acceptability to service users.”
Bristol Disability Equality Forum Manager Laura Welti will be interviewed on BBC News this Monday (March 1st) about our joint campaign, in partnership with National Federation of the Blind UK, calling upon the government to withdraw its survey consultation about a new National Disability Strategy and start over again.
We’re doing this because there are so many problems with the survey as it is at the moment.
The letter of petition we have sent to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Disabled people, Health and Work, is signed by 112 organisations (including our own) and details some of the reasons why the government needs to start all over again, so it can consult properly with Disabled people’s organisations (including those like Deaf organisations, that represent a linguistic minority) and work with Disabled people in drawing up the survey so it is fully accessible to Disabled people, regardless of why they are categorised as such.
The interview can be seen live, 10.40am on the BBC News channel and BBC2
I live in one of these postcode areas. Where can I get a test?
There are two options available currently. We have community surge Mobile Testing Units and various Collect and Drop points across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. You should use them if you are aged over 16 and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Further information on the testing options and locations available is below.
We are in a nearby postcode, can we get tested?
No. Testing for people without symptoms through this route is only available to those living or working in the specified postcode sectors. If you have symptoms, you can book a normal test in the usual way. This can be done online at The NHS website – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or by calling 119.
Are the postcode sectors where you’ve found cases of the changed virus?
Postcode sectors announced are the areas eligible for additional testing of people without symptoms, but this does not mean that the variant is necessarily present in that postcode sector.
Where are the cases of the changed virus? We will not be revealing the location of the cases of the changed virus, as it could lead to the identification of individuals. We must all follow the national lockdown guidance set out by Government, regardless of what type of coronavirus might be more prevalent in the area. By following the guidance and remembering: Hands, Face, Space we can protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our city.
I went for a walk with a friend who lives in this postcode. Do I need to get a test as well? No. Only people living or working within the selected postcode areas are being encouraged to get a test.
COLLECT AND DROP SERVICES
What is a Collect and Drop site?
We have introduced Collect and Drop sites across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. These sites are set up for people who live, or work in, the specified postcode areas, are aged over 16 and do not have symptoms of coronavirus, to collect tests for themselves, their family or for someone who is not able to leave the home.
Where are the sites located?
The sites for collection and drop-off in Bristol are:
The sites for collection and drop-off in South Gloucestershire are:
• Emersons Green Library, Emersons Way, Emersons Green BS16 7AP • Downend Library, Buckingham Gardens, Downend, BS16 5TW • Staple Hill Library, Broad St, Staple Hill, BS16 5LS • Shireway Community Centre, Shire Way, Yate BS37 8YS • Westerleigh Village Hall, BS37 8QL • Hambrook Cricket Club, Moorend Road, Hambrook, Winterbourne, BS16 1SJ • Pucklechurch Community Centre, Abson Rd, Pucklechurch, BS16 9RH (opening Sat 13 February, Sun 14 February, Mon 15 February, Tue 16 February, Sat 20 February and Sun 21 February)
What time are the Collect and Drop sites open?
The Bristol sites are open Monday to Saturday, between 10am and 4pm. The South Gloucestershire sites are open Monday to Sunday, between 9am and 5pm. Note Pucklechurch Community Centre is not open Wednesday 17, Thursday 18 or Friday 19 February. Bristol City Council is working to establish and confirm a Sunday service.
Do I need to book? You do not need to book an appointment and can simply turn up. We advise that people try to collect their kits at least half an hour before the site closes and drop them back off before the sites close where possible. Otherwise, they can be returned within a few days.
Do I need to bring any identification with me? No, you do not need to bring any identification. These new sites are only for people without COVID-19 symptoms and who live or work in the designated postcode sectors. If you are booking a normal test because you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should do so through the national booking system by visiting The NHS website – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or calling 119. These test sites do require identification.
Can I post the completed test in a Royal Mail postbox or through a letterbox? No, completed test kits should be put into the sealed box provided and returned to the location it was collected from.
Can I collect a test on behalf of someone else? Yes. We recognise that not everyone is able to leave their home to collect a test. The Collect and Drop sites are for people to collect tests for themselves, their family or for someone who is not able to leave the home.
Can I collect some tests for my employees? Yes. If your business is located within one of the postcode sectors, you can collect tests for your employees. This will be limited to a maximum of 20 test kits per business. For large businesses, we would encourage employees to take a test at one of the city’s additional mobile testing units (MTUs).
Where do I take my test? Once you collect your test, please take it home with you to complete. It’s much safer to do this at home rather than out and about or in your car.
How do I do a self-swab? For guidance on how to do a self-swab, watch this instructional video from the Department of Health and Social Care: https://youtu.be/8lo6g-TYZ-c
I missed the cut off for dropping my completed test back to the site. What do I do? We’re asking people to return their completed tests on the same day if they can. If you are unable to return your test on the same day, we urge you to do so at the next available time within a few days.
I can’t access a testing site or Collect and Drop site and do not have anyone who can access it for me. What do I do? While the majority of people who are eligible will be able to take a test through the new community surge Mobile Testing Units or our Collect and Drop sites, other ways for anyone not able to do this are being carefully considered by both local authorities. Please regularly check our testing pages at Bristol City Council home page – bristol.gov.uk , South Gloucestershire Council (southglos.gov.uk) or local news outlets for new information about this.
Can I use the library services while I’m there? Generally, the libraries will be set up specifically for this Collect and Drop surge testing service. In Bristol, you will not be able to drop off or collect library books or use any other library services. However, in South Gloucestershire, you can pick up Click and Collect library items – please speak to a marshal and they will arrange for the collection of your items. You will not be charged for overdue items while the libraries are closed.
I have lost or spoiled my testing kit. Can I have another? Yes. Please feel free to collect another kit when you can.
COMMUNITY SURGE MOBILE TESTING UNITS (MTUs) Where are the community surge MTUs and what are the opening times? The Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) are at the following locations:
• Science Park, Dirac Crescent, Emersons Green, BS16 7FR • Bristol City Council Testing Centre, 17-18 Wellington Road, BS2 9DA • Imperial Retail Park, Hartcliffe Way, BS13 7TJ • The Imperial Sports Ground, West Town Lane, BS14 9EA • Yate Common, Westerleigh Road, BS37 8RZ • Shaftsbury Park, Frenchay Park Road, BS16 1LG
All community surge MTU sites across both areas will be open from 9am to 6pm, seven days-a-week. Please be aware that opening times may be subject to change at short notice.
Do I need to book a slot to visit the site? No, booking is not mandatory at this time. We’re keeping our joint surge testing programme under constant review to ensure it is as effective, accessible, and convenient as possible. With two additional new Mobile Testing Units (MTUS) now set-up and several Collect and Drop services in operation within communities, we’ve decided not to introduce the extra step of needing to book in advance for tests at MTUs at this time. As with all elements of the programme, we will keep this under daily review and introduce our booking system if it becomes necessary.
Do I need to wear a mask at the site? At the test site you should wear a face covering and follow social distancing at all times. COVID marshals will be on the site to help you and answer any questions you may have.
Do I need to take ID/proof of address to the testing site? Identification and proof of address is not currently required at the new testing sites. These sites are only for people without COVID-19 symptoms and who live or work in the listed postcode areas. If you need to book a standard PCR test because you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should do so through the national booking system by visiting The NHS website – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or calling 119. These test sites require identification.
Are these sites walk-in or drive-through? All MTU sites accommodate either walk-in or drive-through testing services.
I don’t have the means to access one of these sites. What do I do? We have now introduced Collect and Drop services in a range of locations and are working on other local solutions. We will share more information about this as soon as we can.
Why aren’t there more Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) closer to me?
MTUs require particular site arrangements and there are a limited number of these available. We now have a Collect and Drop service available and are working with our partner agencies to see if there is capacity to set up other more local arrangements in the coming days.
GENERAL TESTING ENQUIRIES
Why weren’t full programme details available from the start of the surge testing programme? The Department of Health and Social Care gave councils very short notice that a testing scheme was required, so something that would normally be planned weeks in advanced was launched in a little over 24 hours at a weekend. Therefore elements of the programme are being designed ‘live’, and in many cases rely on national decisions or resources, such as the supply of Mobile Testing Units and staff, to operate.
Because of this, details may change rapidly throughout the programme, and we encourage everyone to keep up to date by checking our website and social media channels.
What test will I have if I visit the site? Standard PCR tests will be used at these testing sites. These types of tests involve a swab of the nose and throat and are sent off to laboratories to be analysed.
Do the sites offer assisted testing? No. You will have to take the test yourself. The test kit will contain instructions on how to do this. You can also watch this instructional video from the Department of Health and Social Care: https://youtu.be/8lo6g-TYZ-c
Why aren’t you using lateral flow (rapid) tests? PCR testing allows public health agencies to carry out an important process called genomic sequencing. Genomic sequencing is the process of testing a sample of the virus to map its genetic sequence. This helps public health agencies to monitor and understand the evolution of new COVID-19 variants and respond accordingly.
You will need to input your test centre code which is either: ZVY (for Science Park), ZWR (for Yate Common), ZVZ (for Wellington Road), ZWA (for Imperial Park) or ZWQ (for Imperial Sports Ground), ZXA (for Shaftsbury Park).
How and when will people be informed of the results? People will be informed whether they have a positive test result by text or email via NHS Test and Trace. Most people get their result the next day, but it may take up to three days.
How often do we have to get a test? We are asking people aged 16 and over who live in the specific postcode areas to take one test in this two-week period of additional testing.
Does my whole family need to get tested? If you live in one of these postcode areas, are aged 16 and over and have no symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage everyone to visit one of our new community surge Mobile testing Units or Collect and Drop services.
What if I am self-isolating? If you are self-isolating because you’ve received a positive coronavirus test result, you must continue to follow the isolation guidance and not leave your home for any reason.
Do you have to isolate after having one of these tests? No. You should follow standard guidance and only self-isolate if you test positive, have any symptoms, or are contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive.
An existing test site for people with symptoms is closer to me. Can I go there? No. If you do not have symptoms and live in an area which is eligible, you must use the new sites which have been set up for this purpose. This is to help keep you safe.
I am in a support bubble with a household in the postcode area. Do I need to get a test as well? Those who are in a support bubble and therefore travel into these areas are eligible for a test.
I work in one of the postcode sectors but live outside of them. Do I need to get a test? Essential workers travelling into these areas are also eligible for a test.
What accessibility to testing is available for disabled people? Our Collect and Drop sites will be points where people can collect tests for those unable to leave their homes. Collect and Drop instructions will be issued with the testing kits, and tests must be carried out safely in the home.
For those who receive care at home through the Department of Health and Social Care, tests will be given to care staff to administer to those they care for at home. Care staff and support bubble members can support the completion of the test, if appropriate hygiene measures are taken such as use of gloves and washing hands thoroughly before and after administration. Our community development team are also working with several disability groups in the area to finalise how best we can make surge testing accessible to disabled people, including the implementation of more accessible Collect and Drop sites. Please regularly check our additional community testing pages at Bristol City Council home page – bristol.gov.uk or South Gloucestershire Council (southglos.gov.uk) , or local news outlets for new information about this.
Why isn’t there fast tracking for those with autism or other mental health issues that require reduced waiting time? The best option for those with mental health issues is to utilise the Collect and Drop service. This way the test can be completed in the comfort of your own home, and if you prefer not to leave the house, a household or support bubble member can collect and drop the test on your behalf.
A video in British Sign Language about the community surge testing programme will also be available shortly. Please keep an eye on our websites for updates.
If you are already having regular lateral flow (rapid) tests for work, do you still have to go for a PCR test? Yes. If you do not have symptoms and live or work in one of the eligible postcode sectors, you are strongly advised to get a PCR test as part of this community surge testing offer. PCR testing allows public health agencies to carry out an important process called genomic sequencing. This helps public health agencies to monitor and understand the evolution of new COVID-19 variants and respond accordingly.
I’ve had the vaccine. Do I still need a test? We are offering testing to everyone aged 16 or over – even if you have been vaccinated.
Should I get a test if I tested positive for COVID-19 recently? As the standard COVID-19 PCR test is a very sensitive test which can pick up an old infection beyond the infectious period, please do not seek a test if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days.
I’m shielding. Do I have to visit a site to get a test? Arrangements are currently being made for more outreach services in certain circumstances or locations. We will share more information about this as soon as we can.
Can the homeless access the community surge tests? Yes. Anybody who is homeless or sleeping rough can access the community surge tests regardless of postcode.
a. GUIDANCE Has the stay at home guidance changed in Bristol or South Gloucestershire? No. The guidance remains the same. Please follow the national lockdown guidance, stay at home except for essential journeys, for example, to buy necessities or go to work if you cannot reasonably do so from home. Remember: Hands, Face, Space.
If you have symptoms, including a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste or smell, please book a test through Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus – Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or by calling 119. For testing to detect the new variant, community surge Mobile Testing Units have been deployed in the below three areas for people without symptoms who have to leave their house for work or essential reasons.
Should I continue to send my children to nursery (or, where eligible, school) in these areas? Yes, you should continue to follow the national lockdown guidance. At the moment, schools and colleges remain open to vulnerable children and children of key workers. Nurseries also remain open. There are no instructions for education settings to close in areas where new variants have been identified.
Can I still go out to shop for necessities in the supermarket? You should continue to follow the national lockdown guidance, which includes guidance around leaving the home to shop for necessities. When you are out and about for essential reasons, please remember: Hands, Face, Space.
Can I still access lateral flow (rapid) testing? Yes, if you are an essential worker and you are well you can continue to access rapid testing.
Can I access lateral flow (rapid) testing and also take a test through the community surge testing? Yes.
We have come together with the National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK) to launch a petition calling on the government to halt the Survey on a National Disability Strategy.
The survey was uploaded with only 4wks to respond, is inaccessibly long, provides inadequate space to express views, is only aimed at individuals, was released just as we entered a third lockdown, and was not properly advertised to Disabled people.
If you represent a Disabled people’s organisation (of and for) please sign the letter today (12/02/21) or the 17th at the latest, by emailing the name of the signatory, and the organisation they represent, to email@example.com .
Bristol Testing for the new variant of Coronavirus – does it affect you?
From today (Sunday 7 February) Bristol introduced extra community testing, also known as ‘surge’ testing, to help us learn more about the Kent COVID-19 variant that has mutated in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
This extra community testing will act to help reduce the spread of infection by finding asymptomatic cases and prompting people to self-isolate. The one-off testing will use PCR tests, which are analysed in laboratories, rather than lateral flow tests (also known as rapid tests).
This testing is available to people living in specific postcodes and is running for two weeks from today (Sunday 7 February). It is open to those aged 16 and over, who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.
The testing programme includes new mobile testing units (also known as MTUs), which are sites where you can drive-through or walk-up to take a test. There will soon also be locations where people can collect and return testing kits and the delivery of testing kits to homes in certain areas.
Freephone 0800 694 0184. Mon – Fri, 8.30am to 5pm. Sat – Sun, 10am to 2pm.
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Council website for the latest information.
Mutated = changed into something different.
Asymptomatic = infected but has no symptoms.
Together with South Gloucestershire Council – and only since Friday night when the Government confirmed it wanted Bristol City Council to launch this extra testing – its staff teams in the community and partner agencies in public health have been working really hard to get these systems set up quickly and effectively for residents.
The Mayor Rees said, “I understand that some of you may be feeling concerned or anxious about this new testing, and I want to reassure all of you that the actions we’re taking are to help keep you and your loved ones safe. “Today, just 36 hours after we first found out that testing was needed, over 2,000 tests were carried out across all three sites. To those who attended, I would like to thank you for responding so positively and in some cases being prepared to wait whilst we worked to meet demand. “We are extremely grateful to everyone for playing their part in helping to prevent the spread of the virus and protect our city. The sites will be back open at 9am tomorrow morning.” There is nothing to be worried about if you live in one of the areas were testing is happening, we should just keep on doing what we are already doing – keeping to all the national lockdown rules: ⦁ Washing our hands thoroughly and often, ⦁ Keeping at least 2 metres space between ourselves and anyone else, and ⦁ covering our face – especially our nose and mouth.
Postcode sectors You can get tested at the new asymptomatic testing sites if your postcode starts with:
BS2 0, BS2 8, or BS2 9
BS4 4 BS5 0, BS5 6, or BS5 7
BS6 5, or BS6 6
BS8 2, or BS8 3 (only within Bristol City Council boundary – check yours at www.gov.uk/find-local-council)
BS14 9, or BS14 0 (only within Bristol City Council boundary – check yours at www.gov.uk/find-local-council)
How? At the test site you should wear a face covering and follow social distancing. For now, you do not need to book or to bring ID or proof of address.
Frequently Asked Questions Q. Do I need to book a slot? You do not need to book an appointment, although the Council may introduce a booking system soon. They will provide more details in the coming days.
Q. Are the sites walk-in or drive-through? You can walk-in or drive-through at all three testing sites.
Q. I can’t access these sites for medical reasons/because I’m shielding. What do I do? As not everyone can get to a test site there will be other ways for people who live in one of the areas above to get a test arranged soon.
Q. What test will I have if I visit the site? Standard PCR tests will be used at these testing sites. These types of tests involve a swab of the nose and throat and are sent off to laboratories to be analysed.
Q. An existing test site for people with symptoms is closer to me. Can I go there? No. If you do not have symptoms and live in one of the areas above, you must use the new sites which have been set up for this purpose. This is to help keep you safe.
Q. How and when will people be informed of the results? NHS Test and Trace will tell people whether or not they have a positive test result by text or email. Most people get their result the next day, but it may take up to 3 days.
Q. Do you have to isolate after having on one of these tests? No. You should only need to self-isolate if you test positive, have any symptoms, or are contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive.
The Snowdon Master’s Scholarships applications for 2021 are now open, funding brilliant disabled students with up to £30,000 to join UK based Master’s course.
Snowdon Masters Scholarships Successful students will receive up to £15,000 towards their fees and a £15,000 allowance while studying. There are a number of scholarships available, and students can apply for any master’s course or university – applications are open for both National and International Students.
The Southmead Development Trust is hiring for three roles in their Social Prescribing Team. The roles are about helping to improving health and wellbeing for the North Bristol community and supporting people to find community groups and services. All of the jobs have a closing date of the 5th of February 2021. 1. Social Prescribing Link Worker, click HERE. 2. Children and Young People’s Social Prescribing Manager, click HERE. 3. Social Prescribing Link Worker Manager, click HERE.