Moorlanders without Covid symptoms can now book testing slots at Biddulph Leisure Centre which opens as a community testing centre on Monday 18 January.
With the third national lockdown now underway leisure centres must remain closed so Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Staffordshire County Council have worked together to make use of this important community facility for Covid testing in the meantime.
The lateral flow tests being offered are for people who are not displaying symptoms. Residents are advised to book a test as a precaution if they have symptoms such as headaches; aches and pains; feeling very tired for no good reason; sore throat; runny nose; sneezing; and sometimes tummy ache in children.
Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of the District Council, said: “We’re delighted to be able to open up a testing facility at the leisure centre – testing is one of the key ways we can help to control the spread of the virus so it’s great news that this facility is now available in Biddulph.
“These precautionary tests are available to people who are not displaying symptoms which is important because one in three people can be infected without knowing it and then unwittingly spread the virus to loved ones.
“Whilst we’re all staying at home as much as possible, there are people who do need to go out for work or other essentials and I would urge them to take the opportunity to get tested so they can take the appropriate steps to self-isolate if they receive a positive result.
“Our individual actions count and it is only by working together, and displaying our collective determination, that we will start to see the number of people infected drop and our path back to the things we love and the people will miss will become clearer.”
Testing will take place in the Sports Hall between 10am and 4pm every day and people can book online at https://staffordshire.zipporah.co.uk/TrackAndTrace/
Dr Johnny McMahon, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing, said: “We know that one in three people who have the virus don’t display any symptoms so this testing is aimed at identifying more people who may knowingly have the virus which will help us break the chain of infection.
“So if you really do need to be out and about during lockdown then please do get tested. It is quick, easy and free and might just protect someone you care for.”
The leisure centre is operated on behalf of the District Council by Parkwood Leisure and centre staff will be running the testing service.
Plans are also underway for a testing facility for people with Covid symptoms to open on the car park early next month. More details will follow when agreed.
Councillor Ralphs added: “This is a really great use of these public facilities which are unable to operate as normal at the moment due to the lockdown and a real example of the strong partnership working in the Moorlands which will enable us to get on top of the coronavirus.
“I’d like to thank all those involved in setting up and delivering this service but particularly the leisure centre staff who continue to display their commitment to supporting community health and wellbeing whether that’s through normal leisure centre operations or involvement in the local and national efforts to get on top of Covid.
“This testing centre is a real benefit to the local community and I look forward to seeing the difference it will help to make in the infection rates in due course.”
Anyone with Covid symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss of or change to your sense of taste or smell – should not attend Biddulph Leisure Centre. You must book a test by ringing 119 or online through the NHS website www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
There’s more information about support grants for people asked to self-isolate at www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/Coronavirus