New sites in South Gloucestershire where COVID-19 testing can take place – including Mangotsfield – have been identified so that more local people who need a test can get one closer to home.
The council has identified a number of new sites that are suitable to host Mobile Testing Units (MTUs), 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 which means that testing can be available in more parts of the district.
MTUs are allocated on a weekly basis based on demand and availability. Having identified the new sites, South Gloucestershire will be better able to adapt as the situation continues to develop. MTUs may be moved around to meet demand, however anyone who needs a test can access one via /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.
Beginning tomorrow MTUs will be set up in the car park at Cleve Rugby Football Club on Cossham Street, Mangotsfield; and on Friday at The Ridings car park on Wickwar Road in Chipping Sodbury.
The council will continue to work with the Department of Health and Social Care to provide additional local testing capacity at locations across the district as testing facilities are available and to meet changes in demand.
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 provide local testing options across the area.
The council says: “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 the council 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.”
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 it would like to join this scheme as soon as possible. To do this, further new suitable testing sites would need to be identified.
From tomorrow the existing MTU site at UWE will be replaced by a Local Testing Site (LTS). This will be at a different location on the UWE Frenchay campus, but fulfil the same role and have broadly the same capacity for testing.
Testing slots will be made available via the online booking portal and accessible via the 119 number in the normal way. An LTS is a more permanent set-up, not subject to potential weekly relocations and designed to stay in a single location for a period of at least three months. There will be no drive through element to the LTS, instead students and members of the public who have a booked appointment will continue to be able to walk up to be tested.
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