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New testing facilities help Sandwell residents get essential coronavirus tests

Two new testing sites have opened in Sandwell to help people get a free test as quickly as possible if they notice symptoms of coronavirus.

Testing sites offer a safe, quick and convenient way for people to be tested. They enable health professionals to track people with Covid-19 and trace their close contacts, to help prevent the further spread of infection.

A drive-through and walk-through mobile testing unit opened in Oldbury on 25 July, on part of a large car park that has been split into two halves. The test centre can only be accessed from the A457 Dudley Road. A walk-through coronavirus testing facility opened at the St Paul’s Road car park in Smethwick on Friday 31 July.

All tests must be pre-booked - please do not turn up without a booked test!

They have opened as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities. A further testing site is due to open shortly in West Bromwich. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute.

Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119, and you can expect your result the next day.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said:

“It’s absolutely vital people book a test immediately if they notice coronavirus symptoms. It’s quick and easy to get a test – please book one. By doing this, you can protect others, including your family, your friends and others in the community. You can help stop the spread of infection and save lives.”

Testing sites follow strict public health measures, including social distancing. People are urged to practise good personal hygiene and wear face coverings throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre). Please do not travel by taxi or public transport if you have symptoms.

Anyone attending an appointment will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely. Testing is available for everyone, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities. People showing symptoms of Covid-19 must self-isolate at home for 10 days and only go out to have a test.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at test if they develop symptoms.

Members of the public who want to use the Dudley Road/West Bromwich Street car park in Oldbury can still access the car park by the West Bromwich Street entrance only. The entrance/exit on A457 Dudley Road will be temporarily closed other than for access to the testing centre.

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