Waterfront car park transformed into Virus testing unit

A coronavirus testing unit will be in operation in Brierley Hill this week, enabling the government to test frontline workers and other symptomatic people in the area.

The military-led site will test people, by appointment only, from today until Friday 8th May, working alongside the country’s existing drive through test sites.

People who can apply for a test include essential workers, over 65s and those who cannot work from home, for example construction workers or delivery drivers, with coronavirus symptoms.

In addition, anyone with symptoms can apply for a test if they live with an essential worker, a person aged 65 or over or someone who has to travel to work, or if they have a clinical referral from NHS 111 online.

Specially trained Armed Forces personnel will collect swabs at the site, before they are sent to labs for processing. Those tested will receive results within 48 hours. Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

“Dudley Council is working with a range of partners to do all we can to stop the spread of coronavirus and we know the additional testing will make a big difference in how we can manage this pandemic.

“The government has extended testing to key workers and their families, the over 65s and those who cannot work from home.

“Those in this group who are showing symptoms of coronavirus can check eligibility for a test online and book one if appropriate.”

Testing, which will usually be offered at home or at a drive-through test centre, is most effective within one to three days of symptoms developing, and should be carried out in the first five days. Some NHS and care home workers are also being tested even if they are not showing symptoms.

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of the nose and the back of the throat, using a long cotton bud. It tests if someone currently has coronavirus - an antibody test, which will tell if someone has ever had coronavirus, is not yet available.

For more information, and to apply for a test, people are asked to visit gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test. Rachael Jackson, General Manager at intu Merry Hill, said:

“We have been exploring the different ways we can support the local community whilst the centre remains partially open.

”We are pleased to donate one of our car parks for mobile testing so that we can help essential workers and other members of the community access this vital service.

“We’ll be giving our colleagues from Dudley Council and the armed forces as much support as they need.”

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s coronavirus pages at dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus.


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