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New West Bromwich Covid test centre ‘in wrong place’ say residents

By James Vukmirovic | West Bromwich | Coronavirus | Published:

The location of a new coronavirus test site has been criticised by residents of a Sandwell street.

The new test site will be at a car park in West Bromwich, near Temple Street and Frederick Street, to help people get a free test as quickly as possible if they notice symptoms of coronavirus.

It follows similar testing testing sites in Oldbury and Smethwick in response to a surge of cases in the borough.

However, the location of the testing centre has been questioned by local residents, who wished to remain anonymous and asked why it was being based at a location where many at-risk people lived.

A resident has questioned why the test site will be on the car park near Frederick Street near homes of people with underlying health conditions (Image: Google StreetView)

She said: "The residents of this street and nearby Temple Street are BAME and elderly, with many having underlying health conditions, so nearly everyone who lives here is at elevated risk.

"To me, it seems like a very silly place to put a testing centre, particularly as there is derelict space within 500 metres of the area they're deciding to do the testing at."

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Another resident, who also asked to stay anonymous, said there had been no prior consultation with residents about the test centre and said the location was not appropriate.

She said: "This is a very badly sited location due to the size of the residential road and close proximity to the High Street, people coming to the test site risk infecting others on this busy location.

"More thought needs to be put into choosing an appropriate site like with all other locations which are away from houses like industrial estates."

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A spokesperson for Sandwell Council said the site had been selected as it needed to be accessible and close to communities to make it easy for people to be tested.

They also said they had issued guidance to anyone attending an appointment at the test centre.

They said: "Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely.

"These include adhering to social distancing, not travelling in a taxi or on public transport, wearing a face covering throughout, and washing their hands thoroughly before leaving for their appointment.

"Our approach has been agreed with expert clinical oversight and, before trialling the sites, we consulted with clinical experts including public health professionals.

"Our view is that this is a proportionate step given the benefits of increased access to testing, including for some of our most vulnerable citizens."

The site is scheduled to open on Thursday, August 6, with no specific timeframe on how long it will be open for.

James Vukmirovic

By James Vukmirovic
Community Reporter - @jamesvukmirovic

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Wolverhampton. Contact me at james.vukmirovic@expressandstar.co.uk.

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