The rollout of targeted community testing for priority groups and hotspots plus a new site on the national database are set to bolster Wigan Borough’s coronavirus response.
A new facility, part of the national system, is up-and-running at Central Park on Montrose Avenue, Wigan, for symptomatic testing.
Wigan Council will be rolling out its allocation of rapid (lateral-flow) tests from next week, which will be used for vulnerable groups, priority workers, geographical hotspots and key locations such as care homes and schools. These tests – which show results within an hour – will improve the detection of positive cases in residents who are yet to show symptoms, helping to prevent onward transmission.
Professor Kate Ardern, Wigan Borough’s director of public health, said: “Residents will be aware that throughout the pandemic they have had to travel to national testing sites outside of the borough, such as Haydock, for symptomatic testing. To have this new facility will be more convenient for many and – alongside the rollout of the targeted testing at scale for asymptomatic residents – will help our response.
“The lateral-flow tests will be prioritised for key groups and locations to help us identify outbreaks and ensure residents are isolated quickly to break the chain of transmission. We will be re-visiting target locations several times. If someone returns a positive lateral-flow test, they will need to go through the national booking system to get a PCR test (at locations such as Central Park) for confirmation, as PCR tests are considered to be the ‘gold standard’ test.”
The national testing site at Central Park will be a walk-through facility operated by government contractor Deloitte. The Chapel Lane drive-through testing site, operated by the council, has stopped taking bookings as teams have been reassigned to rollout the targeting testing operations.
Leader of Wigan Council, Councillor David Molyneux, said: “Our rates are showing encouraging signs but this is no time to be complacent. These new testing capabilities will assist our dedicated public health teams and I would like to pass on our gratitude for their continued hard work to keep us all safe.
“In the meantime, please keep the guidelines at the forefront of the minds and remember the 3Ws; wear a face covering, watch your space and wash your hands – especially over the Christmas period.”
Wigan Council is also working alongside GM counterparts, and third-party providers, on plans for testing for care home residents and their relatives to enable visits.
More details on this will be available in due course.
Anyone who is symptomatic and cannot attend a test centre is advised to use https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or the 119 number to request a home test kit.
For more information, visit www.wigan.gov.uk/coronavirus