The Government has today (Friday 1 April) ended free community testing for the majority of people after having removed the need to legally self-isolate from 24 February.

However, Herefordshire Council is reminding residents that cases have risen sharply in the county during the last two weeks. Office for National Statistics data to 26 March suggest that one in every 13 people in England is infected.

Herefordshire Council therefore urges caution as we begin living safely with the virus. The council strongly remind residents:

  • To be kind and considerate to others, particularly those who are more vulnerable or more at risk of becoming ill with Covid
  • To get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so – vaccination remains the best way to protect us all from severe diseases and hospitalisations
  • To use the NHS webpage to book an appointment for a vaccination or find out what clinics are available locally

The council is also asking residents to play their part by continuing with the good habits adopted during the pandemic. These include:

  • Washing hands with soap and water
  • Keeping indoor spaces ventilated
  • Wear a mask in enclosed spaces

Matt Pearce, Herefordshire’s director of public health, says:

“As routine testing for the public comes to an end, I’d like to thank the work of the local community testing team. While free testing has ended for most people, those who are at risk of serious illness will still be able to get free tests as will some health and social care staff.

“With our high rates across the county, this has inevitably led to some pressure across our health and care services. Fortunately, we have fewer severely ill people in hospital than we had during the height of the pandemic.

“As we’re being asked to live with Covid, it’s clear the virus has not gone away and we all need to continue to exercise caution and follow simple steps to protect ourselves and those around us.

“As with other respiratory infections, this means that people who are unwell should try and stay at home and avoid contact with other people, especially vulnerable people. They should only return to their normal activities when they feel better or no longer have a temperature, if they had one.”