A brand new walk-through coronavirus testing facility is set to open in Bridgwater this Sunday, as Somerset County Council makes testing more widely available and accessible. Achieved with the co-operation of Bridgwater Town Council, Serco and Deloitte, the walk-through site will be the first of its kind in the County and is one of two new sites set up recently – with a drive-through facility in Yeovilton going live this week. The opening of the site comes as the Government has implemented a new four-week national lockdown in a bid to “Contain the Autumn surge”. Somerset’s Public Health is supportive of the new restrictions and say it comes at a critical time to help flatten the curve and bring down the rising infection rates in the County.
HANDS, FACE, SPACE
Trudi Grant, Somerset’s Director of Public Health today said: “All residents are being urged to follow the guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus by staying home, and following the HANDS FACE SPACE guidance if they need to leave home for one of the permitted reasons. It is now more important than ever that we all work together, and testing plays a key role in helping to reduce the spread of this highly infectious virus. If we know who is infected, we can isolate them accordingly and notify anyone that they may have been in close contact with.”
Testing is available only for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
The new site is situated so that people without transport can easily access it, and it will be open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre.
The two new sites sit alongside the existing facilities at Taunton Racecourse and Frome Cricket Club and are important developments in the County’s bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The new walk-through site is a first for the County and will make it much easier for people who don’t have access to their own transport.
Bridgwater Town, District and County Councillor Leigh Redman, added “As the County councillor for the area that this fantastic facility is in, I must admit that it will help many people to be tested locally. To clear up a few points, as well as public testing this is for key workers to have their regular tests locally, it is for those people who don’t have easy access to transport, tests will be by appointment only, the entry queues will be at the back and limited, a small number of parking spaces for testing only will be available in front the town hall and be time limited. I am trying to contact Angel Place management to try and use their parking next to the town hall so that we can open up the bays in front, this is a work in progress. I will make sure that issues or concerns are dealt with ASAP. I am pleased that Bridgwater will benefit from this and make it easier for our community. “
GETTING A TEST
- If you’re in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, you are eligible for a test: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/everyone-in-the-united-kingdom-with-symptoms-now-eligible-for-coronavirus-tests
- NHS test and trace: how it works: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works#people-who-have-had-close-contact-with-someone-who-has-coronavirus
- Those unable to access the internet can call 119 in England and Wales or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland to book a test.
- Link to the NHS test booking route: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/
- Link to the GOV.UK essential worker test portal: https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers