PCR COVID testing in Oxford expanded to all adults

All adults living or working in Oxford are being invited to take COVID-19 PCR tests as the city continues to confront high levels of the virus.

The decision to widen the availability of testing beyond the 18 - 29 year-old age group has been taken after there has been a 21 per cent increase in cases in those aged 30 - 59 in the last week. Alongside this, there has been a welcome decline in positive cases in the 18 - 29 year old age group, although they still make up more than half of cases. Thanks to the efforts of all those who have taken part in testing and isolating, cases in the city have reduced from 637.6 per 100,000 population to 447.3, a 30 per cent overall reduction.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “The falling of rates in Oxford are welcome but they remain uncomfortably high and we need to drive them down further. The extra testing facilities we currently have for the city as part of being one of the government’s enhanced response areas are going to be with us for at least another week. In light of the current trends, the sensible thing to do is to broaden out the testing offer to all adults to nip this spread in the bud.

“If you are aged over 18 come and get tested – by doing so you are adding to Oxford’s fightback against COVID-19’s summer assault on the city. Thousands of 18 - 29 year olds have already taken the opportunity to get tested since 3 July when the mobile PCR testing units first arrived in the city. This has really helped to reduce the spread of the virus – thank you!

“Similarly, we will repeat our plea to those who have yet to be vaccinated to get their first jab booked. The vaccines are safe and effective. This virus can be nasty and makes you feel very unwell. A vaccine will reduce the chance of serious illness, regardless of age, and will also reduce the chances of a person passing on the virus. This is incredibly important as the Delta variant is more transmissible.

“We are also keeping a close eye on case levels in all parts of Oxfordshire. Oxford’s cases remain substantially higher than elsewhere in the county but it is fair to say that they have risen as a whole during the summer.

“My message to everyone all over the county is to do the right thing – wear a mask in crowded spaces, keep your distance, socialise outdoors, wash your hands regularly and ventilate indoor spaces. Every small act of COVID aware behaviour is a way of defying this virus and allowing the vaccine to perform its positive task.

“Testing, vaccination and following the COVID basic behaviours are beginning to work in combination in Oxford. However, there’s no reason that shouldn’t be the case in Banbury, Abingdon, Henley-on-Thames, Witney, Wallingford, Wantage, Faringdon, Bicester, Burford, Bampton, Chipping Norton, Didcot, Thame – and all of our villages.

“If you have travel plans coming up, it would be wise to get tested before you embark on your journey to help stop the spread.”

The venues offering PCR testing in Oxford are:

  • South Park (St Clement’s end)
  • The Blavatnik School of Government, Walton Street (on the right hand side of the front of the building)
  • Manzil Way Gardens, Cowley Road.

The testing centres at Oxford Brookes University and Osney Lane are also open every day 8am - 8pm, including for those without symptoms, but people need to book an appointment on gov.uk.

If people test positive, they will be told to self-isolate and follow the national guidance. Information, support and advice on self-isolation can be found on the county council’s website or people can download the information as part of a self-isolation support pack.

Meanwhile, people aged 18 or over can grab a first jab at a walk-in vaccination clinics at:

  • Iffley Road Sports Centre, Iffley Road, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 1EQ. This will be open until Friday 16 July, 9.30am - 7.30pm
  • Ewart House, Ewert Pl, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7SG. This will be open until Friday 16 July, 10am - 7.30pm
  • Banbury Cross Health Centre, South Bar House, 6 Oxford Road, Banbury, OX16 9AD. This is open only on Saturday 17 July, 10.30am to 2pm.

All the latest on walk-in clinics can be found at oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk

If you are aged 18 or over, you can also book a vaccination on the national booking service (people do not need to wait to be invited)

Current case rates in Oxfordshire

The overall total for Oxfordshire stands at 281.2 cases per 100,000 of the population.

  • Cherwell: 212.0 cases per 100,000 of the population
  • Oxford: 447.3 cases per 100,000 of the population
  • South Oxfordshire 234.4 cases per 100,000 of the population
  • Vale of White Horse 202.9 cases per 100,000 of the population
  • West Oxfordshire 302.8 cases per 100,000 of the population