First community testing facility opens for key workers
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In support of the response to the pandemic, a new facility for key workers without Covid-19 symptoms will begin offering lateral flow tests from Monday, February 22.
The facility will be co-located at the University of Aberdeen’s Butchart Centre on University Road, where testing for students will continue in parallel with eligible key workers who will be able to book a test at their convenience.
It is estimated that one in three people with coronavirus do not display symptoms (are ‘asymptomatic’) and may spread the virus without realising it.
This type of community testing can therefore provide additional protection for the families, friends and co-workers of key workers, who may be at increased risk of infection.
Those eligible to access the facility must book their test in advance and this can be done via the booking portal (here).
Key workers can be tested twice a week three days apart.
The Scottish definitions of key workers eligible for community testing are-
Category 1 - health and care workers directly supporting Covid-19 response, and associated staff; health and care workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.
Category 2 - All other health and care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (for example: fire, police, prisons, social workers), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.
Category 3 - All workers (private, public or third sector) without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to Covid-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised e.g. retail, transport, education.
NHS Grampian’s head of health intelligence, Jillian Evans, said: “Community testing is voluntary but we hope that providing easy access to tests for key workers without symptoms, will encourage people to come forward.
“This will help us identify cases that would otherwise be missed and, whilst it will increase the number of positive cases reported in Aberdeen, is an important expansion of our testing programme that will help us understand and suppress the virus.”
Tests are self-administered by taking a swab sample from the back of the throat and nose.
"The process takes minutes and results will be sent by the NHS via text or email normally within 90 minutes.
Anyone testing positive with a lateral flow test will be asked to have their result confirmed using a PCR test so that they can self-isolate where necessary to help stop the spread.
Debbie Dyker, director of people at the University, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the city’s response to managing the pandemic. Our Testing Centre has supported the testing of our students to enable them to travel home safely to family prior to Christmas, and also supported those students that have been required to return to University this term in a safe manner. By getting tested not just once but regularly, key workers will be doing what they can to keep our community safe.”
The University of Aberdeen facility is the only one in the city and will soon be joined by further sites in Aberdeenshire and Moray as part of Grampian’s participation in a trial announcement by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman earlier this month.
PCR tests can be booked via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or 0300 303 2713)