Coronavirus community testing to begin in Swadlincote
Swadlincote residents are the first in Derbyshire to be invited for a coronavirus test as part of targeted community testing in the county.
The test is for those over the age of 11 who live in Swadlincote, and who don’t have symptoms. The testing will identify people with COVID-19, enable support for those who have to self-isolate and drive infection rates down further in the county.
The first centre, at Grove Hall, Swadlincote, will open on 21 December. Two further centres, Midway Community Centre and Gresley Old Hall, will both open on 29 December.
The three centres have been provided by South Derbyshire District Council.
Alongside the test, people will be offered advice and help with financial support that they may be entitled to if they need to self-isolate, and help to access wider benefits.
South Derbyshire District Council staff are being helped to set up the sites by Joint Military Command (East) who are deploying around 120 service personnel to the area.
The testing programme will be run by Derbyshire County Council.
Other established methods of testing for people with symptoms will continue alongside community testing and people who have a high temperature, continuous cough or have lost their sense of smell or taste should book a test online in the usual way.
Dean Wallace, Director of Public Health at Derbyshire County Council, said:
“I’d encourage everyone living in the Swadlincote area who doesn’t have any coronavirus symptoms to come and get a test.
“Our first centre opens on 21 December, with 2 more in the area opening on 29 December.
“By getting tested, even if you don’t have symptoms, you are doing the right thing and ultimately helping people to stay well, businesses to stay open, children to stay in school and hospitals to have the capacity to treat other illness like cancer.
“You’ll be given one of the rapid lateral flow tests which give results in about 15 minutes. If the result is positive you will then be given a further test to confirm the result.”
Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council said:
“This is a huge step forward for Derbyshire and an opportunity for us to bring down infection rates in the county and protect our NHS.
“If you do test positive then our employees will be there to help you through the next few days. We will help you apply for any eligible funding to enable you to self-isolate, and can put you in touch with other organisations to help you with shopping, if you can’t call on friends and family to help.
“Getting a test doesn’t mean you can’t still catch the virus, so please continue to wash your hands regularly, keep your distance and wear a face covering unless you are exempt.
“Getting these centres set up in such a short amount of time has been a challenge for us, but one that colleagues from around the council have really risen to, and I’d like to thank them for all their work. I’m also grateful to the military for their support.”
Councillor Martyn Ford, South Derbyshire District Council’s Leader said:
“Providing testing for our residents is important to monitor and reduce the number of cases of coronavirus in South Derbyshire.
“This is why South Derbyshire District Council has provided these community buildings for the testing sites and the Chief Executive and his staff have worked with Derbyshire County Council, the military and partners round the clock to ensure they will be able to open on time and provide the testing capacity.”
Colonel David Wakefield OBE, Commander of Joint Military Command (East) said:
“This is not a military operation; it is Derbyshire County Council’s operation to deliver targeted community testing to the people of Swadlincote; in military speak: Derbyshire County Council is the supported and we are the supporting. JMC(E)’s military planners have already been supporting the county council and its partners with the planning for setting up the community testing and we will be deploying 50 service personnel this side of Christmas to help with delivering the testing at Grove Hall. After Christmas this will rise to 120 service personnel as the testing at Midway Community Centre and Gresley Old Hall gets going. But at all times this will be Derbyshire County Council’s operation.
“Why use military support? It’s simple: speed, mass and discipline is what we do. We can deploy formed bodies of disciplined men and women swiftly, in this case to support the people of Swadlincote this side of Christmas. As soon as Derbyshire County Council have generated a civilian work force to carry on what we have helped get started then we will lift off and prepare for the next thing, whatever that might be.”
Testing is available for everyone living in Swadlincote aged 11 or over. They will first be given a lateral flow test and asked to wait between 15 and 30 minutes while the result comes through. Those testing positive will then be given a standard PCR test, with the results sent to the lab. The result will be confirmed by text or email.
Those attending are asked not to bring bags or other items with them that they don’t consider to be essential. Parents or guardians are asked to accompany those aged 11 to 16.
Find out what the demand is like at the centres when you want to go along on the Derbyshire County Council website.
Centre addresses and opening times:
(This accesses the rear of Grove Hall). Please note access is not through the leisure centre.
On 21, 22 and 23 December, Grove Hall will be open from 9am to 7pm (last admission 6.15pm). It will be closed from Christmas Eve and reopen on 28 December 2020.
From 28 December until 29 January, it will be open from 9am to 7pm during the week (last admission 6.15pm) and 9am to 4pm at weekends (last admission 3.15pm). It will be closed on 1 January.
Midway Community Centre
(car park Rowan Drive DE11 0FF)
Gresley Old Hall
Gresley Wood Road
Midway Community Centre and Gresley Old Hall, will both open on 29 December at 9am. They will both open 9am to 7pm weekdays (last admission 6.15pm), and 9am to 4pm weekends (last admission 3.15pm), but are closed on 1 January. These centres will close on 12 February.
18 December 2020