Key messages for parents from Devon County Council Public Health Team
As you may have seen in the news, cases of COVID-19 are rising again. Here in Devon we still have lower rates than many parts of the country, but it is expected that Devon’s rates will continue to rise as we all start to socialise more. This is starting to be reflected in the rise in positive cases among school age children in the county.
We want to thank parents and carers for all you are doing to help keep school communities safe – and ask everyone to keep going with the ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ measures when you and your family are out and about, as well as at school:
· Wash hands frequently
· Use face coverings where required, including school transport, public transport, and indoor public spaces
· Make space – keep your social distance
· Choose to meet outside in the fresh air where possible
Regular testing also helps to stop the spread of the virus – here’s a reminder of what tests are available and when to use them:
LFD tests (Lateral Flow Device)
· LFD tests can identify people with lots of the virus and who are very infectious. 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading the virus to other people without knowing. These tests are for people who do not have any symptoms of coronavirus. They provide quick results within half an hour, so that you can get on with your day if you test negative, remembering to keep following public health guidance. If you test positive, you’ll need to arrange a follow-up PCR test (see below). LFD tests are available for all adults and secondary aged pupils to test twice weekly. You can pick them up for free from your local pharmacy, and they are available to order online for home delivery. Assistance with the test is available at any of our Community Testing sites. You can find details about where our sites are across Devon on our website, devon.cc/flow.
PCR tests (Polymerase Chain Reaction)
· PCR tests are more sensitive and used to confirm if someone has COVID-19. The result takes longer as it is processed in a lab. PCR tests are for people with COVID-19 symptoms – high temperature, new and continuous cough, change to usual sense of taste or smell - or for follow up after a positive LFD result. Close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case can also get a PCR test.
Please remember to report test results on the national website as well as to the school, this helps us monitor cases and support quick and appropriate action to keep schools operating as normal.