New drive-through Covid-19 testing service opens in Lancashire
A drive-through coronavirus testing facility opens today at the Old Bank Lane in Blackburn, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute. Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Testing at the Old Bank Lane site starts on July 6, with more appointments available each day. Testing is available for everyone, including vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
The site is part of a network of diagnostic testing facilities across the county, including 70 drive-through sites, eight walk-through sites, 116 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and three mega laboratories.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at test if they develop symptoms.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “The Government continues to scale up testing capacity for coronavirus, to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives.
“This is supported by our NHS Test and Trace service, which will contact you if you test positive or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus.
“I urge anyone with symptoms to book a test today, and anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow their advice to protect those around them from the virus.”
Professor John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said: “This is another opportunity to make testing easily available to anyone who needs it. Sites like this allow people who develop symptoms to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to stay at home with their household or can safely return to work or a more normal life.
“This whole programme has been a great example of collaboration between industries, business and the public sector, working together to build the capability needed to protect the population from coronavirus.”
The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Sodexo and will offer assisted and self-administered tests.
Sean Haley, regional chair of Sodexo UK and Ireland said: “Sodexo teams have moved quickly to set up Covid-19 testing centres as part of the industry-wide effort to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. The Blackburn site will mean more people can be tested. I am proud of our colleagues who are working together with pace and dedication to support the NHS."
In addition to the regional test sites, 116 mobile testing units operated by the Armed Forces are traveling the UK to offer coronavirus testing. They respond to need, setting up test sites at care homes, police stations and prisons.
The Government has set up a home-testing service, supported by Amazon's logistics network and other commercial partners. Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house.