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Mobile Covid-19 test unit rolled out to Invergordon and Alness as NHS Highland public health chief urges people help their communities


By Hector MacKenzie

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Dr Tim Allison, director of public health for NHS Highland.
Dr Tim Allison, director of public health for NHS Highland.

RAPID Covid-19 community testing will be available in Alness from Monday to Wednesday and in Invergordon on Thursday and Friday.

The community testing programme offers rapid Covid-19 tests for people without symptoms.

The Highland Council and NHS Highland says it will plan and deliver community testing in the Highlands wherever it is needed, to help people become confident in using the test kits.

There is no local outbreak in Alness or Invergordon, the deployment is to provide further access to lateral flow device (LFD) testing for these communities, and to assist people in administering the test.

The mobile testing unit Testalot will be available for drop-in lateral flow testing for anyone without symptoms at:

Obsdale Road Car Park, Alness

Monday 21 June 9:30am-4:30pm

Tuesday 22 June 9:30am-4:30pm

Wednesday 23 June 9:30am-4:30pm

Natal Gardens Car Park (enter via Clyde St./Outram St.), Invergordon

Thursday 24 June 9:30am-4:30pm

Friday 25 June 9:30am-3pm

The mobile testing unit will also be operating an LFD collect service, which makes packs of seven testing kits available for free to the public, to be taken away and used at home.

The testing process takes ten minutes, and results are usually sent within an hour, though may occasionally take up to 24 hours.

The test uses the LFD and is easy to administer. Results will be sent by text and/or email to those attending, so there is no need to stay on site. Guidance is provided on what to do if a test is negative, positive or unclear.

“Many people who have coronavirus (Covid-19) have no symptoms, and will be spreading it without realising. By expanding community testing we will be able to identify more cases giving us a better chance of stopping Covid-19 from spreading." – Dr Tim Allison

Highland Council said: "By getting tested, you can help your community, families and friends stay safe and slow down the spread of coronavirus. It also helps to show us how the virus is spread.

"If you have been vaccinated, you should still consider getting tested. While vaccines reduce the risk of infection after 14-21 days, people who have been vaccinated could still become infected. No vaccine provides 100 per cent protection against a virus.

"No appointment is necessary to receive a test. When you arrive at a mobile testing unit, you will first be asked to wait outside, before being registered and entering. You will then be escorted to a testing booth.

"LFD tests for people without Covid-19 symptoms can also be sent to your home, in packs of seven, by visiting the UK Government's coronavirus support page.

"The LFD test is used in some workplaces already, including schools. If you already get tested through your workplace or education setting you should continue to use those routes."

Convener of Highland Council, Bill Lobban said: “In Highland we will have three mobile testing units available to travel to identified locations with a team of trained staff to deliver testing for people without symptoms. Our mobile units can be deployed wherever needed. If mobile units come to your area we encourage you to make use of the testing facilities as this will enable quick detection of any localised cases of Covid-19. It also offers reassurance for anyone concerned about potentially being an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.”

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health with NHS Highland, said: “Many people who have coronavirus (Covid-19) have no symptoms, and will be spreading it without realising. By expanding community testing we will be able to identify more cases giving us a better chance of stopping Covid-19 from spreading.

“Testing for those without symptoms, asymptomatic testing, will help us to identify those who are positive but do not have symptoms. We can then advise them to self-isolate and therefore prevent spread. Anyone that tests positive with an LFD needs to get a confirmatory PCR test. More testing helps to show us how the virus is spread and will help us reduce risk.”

Whilst the unit is being deployed, anyone that has symptoms of Covid-19, or has been identified as a close contact of Covid-19, must access PCR testing.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately and seek a PCR test. Symptoms include new continuous cough, fever, or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste. If you have symptoms, you should not use an LFD test.

Similarly, you should not attend asymptomatic testing sites if you are currently self-isolating because you have been identified as a close contact, or if you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days.

PCR tests for people with Covid-19 symptoms can be arranged by visiting nhsinform.scot or by calling 119.


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