Director of Public Health Steve Maddern discusses the steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of covid 19 this winter.
Mr Maddern is reminding members of the public that as winter approaches, it is important to wash hands regularly and wear a mask in crowded places to aid protection against covid 19 and the flu.
He released a statement with some advice for the people of Swindon: "When meeting people inside, open windows and doors to ventilate the room.
"If you are offered a vaccine for covid 19 or flu, please take it. If you have any covid 19 symptoms, get a PCR test.
"You may have read and heard media reports following confirmation from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that a laboratory processed some incorrect negative PCR test results between 8 September and 12 October, mostly in the South West of England.
"NHS Test and Trace is contacting the people that could still be infectious to advise them to take another test. Close contacts who are symptomatic will also be advised to take a test in line with normal practice."
The Director of Public Health also added that anyone with covid 19 symptoms should self-isolate and book a PCR test. Those with a positive rapid lateral flow test result should then get a follow up PCR test to confirm they have covid 19.
Mr Maddern said that UKHSA has confirmed the processing of the incorrect negative PCR test results was an isolated incident attributed to one laboratory which processes the tests, and that there are no concerns over the test themselves or testing sites. More information about the UKHSA's statement can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/testing-at-private-lab-suspended-following-nhs-test-and-trace-investigation
Those wishing to find out more regarding covid 19 testing can check the NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/get-tested-for-coronavirus/.
Swindon Borough Council also released updated information around Swindon's covid case rate and vaccine data.
From 5 - 11 October, there were 623 new covid cases in Swindon, which had gone up from the 498 the previous week.
As of 15 October, the covid case rate in Swindon was 280 per 100k, up from 223 the previous week. The South West average was 349 per 100k, while the England average was 393 per 100k.
As of 10 October, a further 49 residents of Swindon had their first dose of the covid 19 vaccine, bringing the total number of people aged 18 and over vaccinated with the first dose to 163,528 (85.4%).
A total of 509 residents had their second dose of the covid 19 vaccine, bringing the total number of Swindon residents aged 18 and over who are fully vaccinated to 155,399 (81.1%).
The council are also reminding the public that from 24 October, fully vaccinated passengers and most under 18s arriving in England from countries not n the red list can take a cheaper lateral flow test, instead of a PCR test, on or before Day 2 of their arrival into the UK. These can be booked from 22 October.
This change will come into effect for those returning from half term breaks with lateral flow tests available to book through private providers listed on the Government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/find-travel-test-provider.
Passengers are being reminded that they must upload a photo of their test to verify results as soon as possible, with free NHS PCR tests to confirm any positive cases.