Updated 15/4/2021

If you are over 18 and don’t have symptoms of coronavirus you can now get free rapid COVID-19 tests from your local community testing sites, local pharmacies or online.

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Over 11,000 tests for people without COVID-19 symptoms have already been done at our Coronavirus rapid testing sites in Dunstable, Flitwick and Biggleswade while over 1,500 home test kits have been given out.

If you don’t have symptoms you can get a free, rapid test at any of our centres in Biggleswade, Dunstable and Flitwick, where the experienced staff will demonstrate how to do a high-quality test at home and can give you a home test kit.

You can also use the Government’s new home ordering service, which allows you to order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to your home or collect tests through participating local pharmacies.

If you have coronavirus symptoms you should not use this service but must get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms: a high temperature; a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

PCR tests can be booked here.

Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing and Communities, Cllr Tracey Stock, welcomed the news, saying:

“Our community testing centres have carried out over 11,000 tests and found 45 people who were positive for COVID-19 despite having no symptoms. This means 45 local residents are now able to take action to protect themselves, their families and everyone around them, reducing the spread of infection.

“With around one in three people who have coronavirus showing no symptoms, regular rapid testing is vital for those individuals who have regular contact with people who are not part of their household or bubble.

“Regular testing will help identify more people who have COVID-19 and help to reduce the spread of the virus as they will know how to self-isolate.”

A rapid test, also called a lateral flow test (LFR), is a test for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and give results in 30 minutes.

If your LFR test is positive or if you have symptoms you should self-isolate at home and book a PCR test online on the NHS website or call 119.

Find out more on the Central Bedfordshire Council website and  www.NHS.UK/get-tested

Visit Central Bedfordshire’s local test centres

Flitwick Leisure Centre, Steppingley Road, Flitwick, Bedford, Bedfordshire MK45 1TH. The testing centre at Flitwick is open 7 days a week, from 8am to 7pm. Parking is available at the centre.

The Dunstable Centre, Court Drive, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU5 4JD. The testing centre at Dunstable is open 7 days a week from 8am to 7pm. Parking is available at the Grove Park car park, in front of Go Bowling, and will be free whilst it is being used as a testing site.

Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre in Biggleswade, Saxon Drive, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire SG18 8SU. The test centre at Biggleswade will operate on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, from 8am to 7pm.  Parking is available at the centre.

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The roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions

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Help with transport to vaccination appointments

If you don’t have your own transport, and are unable to use public transport, to get to your vaccination appointment, you may be able to get some assistance from local organisations.

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Frequently asked questions

We know that while you are waiting to hear about an appointment you may have some questions. Most of these can be found here on the BLMK CCG’s FAQ page, which is constantly updated.

 

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Face covering exemptions

If you can, you should wear a face covering in public places like shops and supermarkets but please respect those who are unable to wear one.

Respect those that can't wear a face mask

Remember, not all health conditions are visible

The list of exemptions, which has been in place since face coverings became mandatory on public transport, includes hidden conditions such as:

  • anxiety or panic disorders
  • autism
  • breathing difficulties
  • dementia
  • reduced vision or if you are with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

Full details available on the GOV.UK website about face covering exemptions.

Exemption cards or badges

Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign. You can download exemption cards on the GOV.UK website.

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Learn new skills

The Bedfordshire Employment and Skills Adult Learning team (BESS) has moved from the classroom, to online during the COVID-19 national emergency.

Until a month ago, 90 per cent of adult learning operated as a face-to-face service, but since the lockdown we have reshaped how the service is delivered.

Online and distance based courses currently include support with wellbeing and mental health, using IT to stay in touch and communicate with others, understanding children’s mental health and challenging behaviour and preparing for employment. More courses will be added over the next few weeks.

To see the courses available, for more information and to enrol visit the Adult Learning Courses pages.

The team also continues to provide a National Careers Service (NCS) for information, advice and guidance with finding work. To arrange one-to-one support please complete an online form and you will be contacted by an adviser.

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How are charities and other organisations helping us during the Covid-19 Pandemic?

  • Covid-19 is a particularly challenging time for people and families affected by genetic, rare and undiagnosed conditions. Genetic Alliance UK  hub has been set up to enable quick and easy access to relevant information and will be updated regularly while Covid-19 remains a threat to health.
  • The Princes Trust have pulled together some of the most useful advice, guidance and resources so 11-30 year olds can continue to upskill by developing their confidence and abilities during this challenging time, as well as find the answers to questions on work and self-employment. They also have a live chat for advice and guidance. https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/about-the-trust/coronavirus-response/resource-centre
  • Food can affect your mood! There is a link between what we eat and how we feel so it’s important to have a healthy, balanced diet for both your body and mind. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive. Try these sites for brain food on a budget:
  • Coping as a keyworker – when you’re busy doing important work, it might not feel possible to take care of yourself. But even doing small things for yourself can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing, and there are lots of ideas you can try. National Mind now have a page dedicated to coping as a keyworker
  • Circle Integrated Care communication concerning running of services during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Carers in Bedfordshire are still here for carers. They are still also accepting new referrals. Please call their telephone support service on 0300 111 1919 between 9.30am and 4.30pm, or visit their website.
  • Independent Age local volunteers stepping up to support their older neighbours across the UK.
  • Carers UK has produced recommendations for carers.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority has released information for consumers on personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts: https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/coronavirus-information-personal-loans-credit-cards-overdrafts?
  • Pathway has called on the government for guidance on how best to protect homeless people against coronavirus.
  • The British Red Cross can help support people find missing family during Covid. Read more here
  • Full Fact has generated a fact check page on covid-19 to help dispel any false information.

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Are you a Volunteer and worried or anxious, or want to offload a bit?

  • Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers (BLEVEC) has set up a peer support service for volunteers from voluntary sector organisations involved in the coronavirus emergency. BLEVEC volunteers have good listening skills and are able to provide emotional support.