Play it safe over the bank holiday weekend – COVID is still around

Oxfordshire residents are being asked to continue to show the caution that has kept COVID at bay this spring – particularly as the bank holiday weekend approaches.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Public Health Director, Ansaf Azhar, is also reminding people of the importance of regular symptom-free testing and the range of different testing options available to make this as easy and convenient as possible.

He said: “I’m pleased to say that COVID levels in Oxfordshire have remained stable for the past few weeks. However, the number of people testing positive each week is more than 100, so the virus is still out there. The schools have now returned and shops are fully open and so we are closely monitoring the data locally and nationally to see if there is any sign of change.

“One of the key ways in which we can control the virus is through testing and I would encourage everyone to get tested twice a week. Anyone can pass on COVID – even those people who have had the vaccine – and so it’s really important that as many people get tested as possible to help us identify positive cases quickly, break the chain of transmission and stop the spread of the virus. Regular testing helps to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community. So I would urge everyone, including those who have been vaccinated, to make twice-weekly testing a regular habit.

“Rapid COVID tests are quick and easy, with results provided in just half an hour. And there are plenty of ways in which you can get a free test, from visiting one of our testing centres to picking up a home testing kit from your local pharmacy or having one delivered straight to your door.

“Of course another major factor in keeping COVID at bay is abiding by the rules. Please don’t get bored with keeping the required distance from others, washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering and not meeting in large groups.

“We are still consolidating our position in respect to COVID. Every single act of care and caution keeps COVID on the back foot and every time someone does those simple basic things they are playing their part in countering COVID. Please keep it up – it is working.

“The bank holiday weekend will provide temptations to stray beyond the national roadmap rules as they currently stand. Please don’t – let’s play it safe and keep Oxfordshire open.”

How can you get tested?

It is now even easier than before to take part in twice-weekly lateral flow testing. Anybody can get tested and all of the council’s symptom-free testing facilities now work on a walk-in basis – you do not need to book an appointment. Symptom-free testing centres are at:

  • Spiceball Leisure Centre in Banbury (OX16 2BW)Weekdays 7am - 7pm, Saturday 8.30am - 12.30pm
    PLEASE NOTE that from Tuesday 4 May, this testing site will be moving to Banbury United Football Club
  • The Beacon in Wantage (OX12 9BX)Weekdays 8.30am - 7pm, Saturday 8.30am - 12.30pm
  • King’s Centre in Oxford (OX2 0ES)Weekdays 8.30am - 7pm, Saturday 8.30am - 12.30pm
  • Brownes Hall in Carterton (OX18 3JH)Weekdays 8.30am - 7pm, Saturday 8.30am - 12.30pm

Home testing kits can also be collected from any of these testing sites during opening hours as well as a number of pharmacies across the county. Check which pharmacies offer this service by visiting maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk

Home testing kits can also be collected from any of the symptom test sites, 2.30pm - 8pm:

  • Oxford Parkway, Water Eaton Park & Ride, Oxford Road, Oxford (OX2 8HA) Please note that this is a drive-through testing site and is only accessible by car.
  • Woodgreen Leisure Centre, Woodgreen Avenue, Banbury (OX16 0HS)
  • Osney Lane, Oxford (OX1 1NY)
  • Woodford Way car park, Witney (OX28 6JS)
  • Fuller Building Restaurant, Oxford Brookes University, Headington (OX3 0BP)

Primary school aged children should not use lateral flow tests. Anybody displaying symptoms should not get a lateral flow test and should instead self-isolate and book a PCR test at one of the testing sites above. For more information on how to book visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

For further information about the different testing options, visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/covidtest

Current COVID case-rates in Oxfordshire

In the week ending April 23 the number of cases per 100,000 people in Oxfordshire was 20.4. By district the rates were:

  • Cherwell 23.9
  • Oxford 24.3
  • South Oxfordshire 13.4
  • Vale of White Horse 24.3
  • West Oxfordshire 14.5