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Keith will be first venue for mobile Covid-19 testing site

By Chris Saunderson

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THE first mobile community testing site in Moray for people with no symptoms of Covid-19 will open next week.

The pop-up testing unit will open in Keith on Monday, February 22.

A man performs a Covid-19 test on himself.
A man performs a Covid-19 test on himself.

Based at the scout hall (old Ogilvie school) on Fife Street for two weeks, the site will provide free testing for members of the public who have no symptoms associated with Covid-19 but who could be infectious and spreading the virus without knowing it.

It will then move between Moray towns for the next three months in an effort to drive down community transmission of the virus. The Keith site will initially be open Monday-Friday 10am-3.30pm.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the mobile unit will be able to adapt to focus on communities where there is a testing need or sustained transmission, using the most up-to-date data.

Karen Sievewright, Environmental Health and Trading Standards Manager, said: “Almost one in three people with Covid don’t have symptoms but are still infectious and able to pass the virus on to loved ones, friends and the wider community.

“By getting tested at a community testing site, you can find out if you are positive and take immediate action to stop the spread of the virus by self-isolating.

“Not only are we helping to protect our family, friends and community, if we can reduce the spread of Covid-19 and continue to follow the other national measures that are in place, we are that one step closer to getting back to doing the things we are unable to do just now.”

Testing at the mobile sites in Moray is available to anyone without symptoms on a drop-in basis, without the need for an appointment.

Locations and hours of operating are subject to change. Residents planning to attend a testing site should check the Moray Council website for any changes to planned sites.

People attending the centre will be asked to take a Lateral Flow test. These quick and easy tests can be processed on-site with results expected around 30 minutes later.

Anyone who tests negative doesn’t have to take any action but should continue to follow all national guidance.

Where a test is positive, people will be asked to take a confirmatory PCR test and self-isolate as a precaution until the result is known. If this test is also positive individuals and their households will have to self-isolate in line with national guidance.

Information will be available onsite, providing advice on accessing different financial support alongside practical measures, such as, food packages for those who need to self-isolate.

Norma Matheson, Moray Council’s Benefits Manager, said: “We know that self-isolating can be really difficult for some people - physically and mentally but, more often than not, financially.

“We understand that being asked to self-isolate at short notice can present you with a lot of problems. Not everyone may be lucky enough to have family, friends or good neighbours nearby who can help with things like getting groceries or picking up prescriptions."

The Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub can give you details of help available locally with things like shopping and collecting prescriptions. You can call them on 0808 196 3384.

Ms Matheson added: “Some people are only a week’s wages away from financial difficulty and can’t afford not to work.

"We don’t want these things to be a barrier to people getting tested. We are here to help support you if you need to self-isolate.”

Members of the public should take their mobile phone to the centre if they have one so that they can receive results. Alternative arrangements will be made for those who do not have a phone.

People should only attend the community testing site if they do not have any Covid-19 symptoms. Do not attend if you:

  • Have Covid-19 symptoms
  • Are currently self-isolating because you have been identified as a close contact
  • Have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days

All testing sites will be open on a time-limited basis. There will be flexibility as to how long sites remain open based on the latest data and testing uptake.

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