New sites where Covid-19 testing can take place have been identified so that more local people who need a Covid-19 test can get one closer to home.
The Council has identified a number of new sites that are suitable to host Mobile Testing Units (MTU’s), similar to those which have been operating at the University of the West of England (UWE) campus in Frenchay. These have now been approved by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which means that testing could be available in more parts of the district.
MTU’s are allocated on a weekly basis by DHSC based on demand and availability. Having identified the new sites, South Gloucestershire will be better able to adapt as the situation continues to develop. MTU’s may be moved around to meet demand, however anyone who needs a test can access one via the portal (https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119) and the most convenient location available on that day will be offered. If a local appointment is not available, a home testing kit can be sent to your home.
All testing facilities will continue to operate on a strictly appointment-only basis. It is vital that if you need a test that you book in advance. You cannot attend a testing facility without an appointment.
We have identified additional locations in order to provide greater access to testing for symptomatic residents across South Gloucestershire.
Beginning on Thursday 19 November, MTU’s will be set up in the car park at Cleve Rugby Football Club on Cossham Street, Mangotsfield; and on Friday 20 November at The Ridings Car Park, Wickwar Road, Chipping Sodbury.
We will continue to work with DHSC to provide additional local testing capacity at locations across the district as testing facilities are available and to meet changes in demand.
Director of Public Health, Sara Blackmore said: “Testing is a key part of our efforts to contain and stop the spread of Covid-19 and for those who need a test, we are working with Government to make that as easy as possible. In identifying these new locations in South Gloucestershire where testing can take place, we are making it possible for more tests to take place in our area for our residents.
“The other central part of our efforts to keep everyone safe is to all follow the rules. Remember: Hands. Face. Space. By continuing to do the right thing, you are keeping yourself, your family and your friends safe.
“By following rules we will help to reduce the pressure on our NHS and care services. We will improve our chances of ending the restrictions we all face as quickly as possible. And we will help to prevent more people contracting this incredibly dangerous illness.
“Thank you to everyone who is already playing their part. By continuing to all play our roles, we will get through this.”
There are a number of criteria required to establish testing facilities and the council has been working with a range of partners to identify locations that will help us provide local testing options across the area. We have been very pleased to have received positive feedback from a number of organisations who feel able to do their part in helping us prevent the spread and keep South Gloucestershire safe, including Cleve Rugby Football Club and the Chipping Sodbury Town Trust.
Deputy Leader of South Gloucestershire Council and Cabinet Member for Adults and Housing, Ben Stokes, said: “Local testing is really important, particularly for those who are less able to travel safely longer distances to get to existing facilities.
“I want to express my thanks to Cleve Rugby Club and to the Chipping Sodbury Town Trust in particular for stepping forward with their facilities to help us meet local needs. They are wonderful examples of the community-spirit which has been the hallmark of so much of our collective efforts to help each other out during these very difficult times.
“I am also so proud of the efforts of our public health teams and of our residents who are following the guidance to keep themselves and the rest of the community as safe as possible. I want to thank you and to ask you to keep going. We will get through this by continuing to work together and to look after not only ourselves, but our friends and neighbours.”
As the number of Covid-19 cases continue to give concern, testing is being stepped up nationally. The next phase of the ‘lateral testing’ system, which aims to target 10 per cent of a local population each week, will be rolled out in the Bristol area soon, and South Gloucestershire Council has indicated to Government that we would like to join this scheme as soon as possible. To do this, further new suitable testing sites would need to be identified.
You should only book a test, which is free, if you have one of the following symptoms:
• you have a high temperature
• you have a new, continuous cough
• you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
• you’ve been asked to by the council public health team, your doctor or other NHS clinician
• You can also get a test for someone you live with if they have symptoms.