Accessibility navigation

Extra COVID-19 testing in Reading and Wokingham

University shield

Our local authorities, Reading Borough Council (RBC) and Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) have announced that they are working with Public Health England (PHE) to launch a period of extra testing (also known as ‘surge testing’) for the local community from Monday 7 June.

Surge testing has already been taking place across the UK, including in Kent and Hampshire, to quickly respond to increases of positive cases – particularly to monitor and respond to new variants.

Like many other areas of the country, overall cases of COVID-19 are increasing in Reading, as shown on the government’s online map, including cases of  new labelling from the World Health Organisation). This new testing will help contain the virus in the area by identifying those who are currently infectious without symptoms and reduce the risk of further transmission.

Here at the University, we have seen a small increase in cases, as reported on our Dashboard, and we are working with PHE to undertake targeted on-site testing for the Halls affected. Our contact tracing to date suggests that infection has been contained and PHE have also confirmed they are happy with the control measures we currently have in place.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are supporting the local authorities and PHE – including with this new surge testing. At their request, we have made Car Park 7 available for a Mobile Testing Unit as one of a suite of locations across Reading for asymptomatic members of the community to take a test, including our students and colleagues. We will follow all PHE advice on the necessary health and safety measures to protect our students and staff who are currently on campus.

Everyone over the age of 12 living in the following areas is invited to take a test, from Monday 7 June:

  • Reading: Postcode areas RG1 3, RG1 5, RG1 6 and RG1 7
  • Wokingham: Bulmershe and Whitegates, Evendons, Norreys, and Wescott

These areas include some Halls of Residence: St George’s, Wantage and Kendrick.

As a University, we strongly encourage all members of our community living in the specified areas to participate in the testing, even if you have been vaccinated. In doing so, you will be helping protect our community and contributing to PHE’s understanding of the virus and the new variants.

You do not need to book and you can find out more about the testing locations on the Reading Borough Council or Wokingham Borough Council websites, depending on your area.

 


What is ‘surge testing’?

Surge testing is increased testing (including door-to-door testing in some areas) and enhanced contact tracing in specific locations in England. It involves testing of people who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

The testing being offered is a PCR test. This will allow any positive samples to be sequenced and verified if they are also of a variant of concern.

Testing, in combination with measures such as social distancing and wearing face coverings, will help to suppress and control the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of this new variant.

If you test positive, you must self-isolate immediately, pass on details of your contacts to NHS Test and Trace, and report it to us straight away so we can support you and your University close contacts. Colleagues should let their line manager know and students should use the online form.

How do I know if I am eligible for the community ‘surge testing’?

Everyone over the age of 12 living in the following areas is invited to take a test, from Monday 7 June:

  • Reading: Postcode areas RG1 3, RG1 5, RG1 6 and RG1 7
  • Wokingham: Bulmershe and Whitegates, Evendons, Norreys, and Wescott

These areas include some Halls of Residence: St George’s, Wantage and Kendrick.

You do not need to book and further information about the testing locations is published on the Reading Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council websites, depending on the area you live in.

Is this testing linked to the Mobile Testing Unit in Car Park 3 on campus?

The temporary Mobile Testing Unit in Car Park 3 on 4, 5, 6 June is to facilitate targeted on-site testing, rather than the ‘surge testing’ which is available for everyone living in the specific areas identified (listed above).

The testing at Car Park 3 is by invitation for some Halls residents where there have been confirmed cases of a ‘variant of concern’, now known as ‘Delta’ according to the new labelling from the World Health Organisation.

Setting up targeted on-site testing is consistent with the approach taken by PHE to cases of this variant identified recently in local schools, as a precaution to find out if this variant has spread more widely amongst students as well as household contacts of the individuals.  

What if I am currently self-isolating or have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you are currently self-isolating, either because you have tested positive for COVID-19, or because you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has, you must not break your self-isolation to take one of these tests. If testing is still running after you have completed your full period of self-isolation, and you do not have symptoms, you can take a test.

If you have recently arrived in the UK from an amber list country and are currently quarantining, then you must not break quarantine. Please continue to follow the specific government guidance regarding quarantining and testing upon entering the UK.

Remember, if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate and get a PCR test straight away through the government website, and not by visiting one of these new ‘surge testing’ sites. Colleagues should let their line manager know and students should use the online form so we can support you and your University close contacts.

What if I have recently tested positive for COVID-19?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days using a PCR test, you should not take this extra test as it may result in a ‘false positive’ result.

What if I have already had one or two doses of the vaccine?

Testing is encouraged even if you have already had one or two doses of the vaccine. Participation will help inform PHE’s vital research.

Is the ‘Delta’ variant more serious?

PHE have emphasised that there is no evidence this variant causes more serious illness than other variants, but there is some evidence that it does transmit more easily between people. That is why they are conducting further important research and have asked for our support with targeted on-site testing where cases in Halls have been identified.

Where can I get advice or support?

Members of staff should speak to your line manager in the first instance if you have any queries or concerns. You can also email our COVID-19 hotline team at covid-hotline@reading.ac.uk

For our students, please contact the COVID-19 Support & Behaviour Team at covid-support@reading.ac.uk or, if you live in Halls, please contact the Halls Hotline on 0800 029 1984.

Page navigation

Search Form

Main navigation