Rapid testing back on track in Wolverhampton as 'steady flow' swabbed at site

Dozens of people have attended a new rapid Covid testing centre in Wolverhampton despite a delayed start.

People queue to be tested at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Wolverhampton
People queue to be tested at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Wolverhampton

The community-led test site opened at the Guru Nanak Sikh temple in Sedgley Street, in Blakenhall at 7am for its first full day yesterday with a “steady flow” passing through the doors.

About 70 people had a test at the site on Thursday after a shaky opening at 3pm, which was pushed back due to a lack of protective equipment for staff.

The community-led facility is the first one to open in the country. Patients can receive results within half an hour via text or email.

People from the community can attend without an appointment or if they don’t have symptoms.

It comes as neighbouring authority bosses called for similar sites across other Black Country areas as cases of the virus rise.

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A Wolverhampton Council spokesman said: “We can confirm that around 70 people attended and had a test Thursday afternoon, and there have been a steady flow of people through the doors today.

“This site is only for people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 – anyone with symptoms must immediately self-isolate and book an appointment for a test one of the seven Covid-19 test centres in the city; they should not come down to the Sedgley Street Gurdwara.”

Among those in line was Kevin Browne, 62, from Penn, who works at South Staffs Housing Association.

Kevin Browne from Penn

Mr Browne said: "I have got no symptoms at all but it is the nature of my job. I actually work with sewerage. I am part of the jetting team. As everybody knows, Covid stays active in sewerage so I am classed as high risk.

"I am coming to protect myself, my colleagues and the young lady that I live with. It is peace of mind.

"I constantly work with members of the public. The last thing I would want is to have Covid, although I take the precautions, is go round and spread it further than most of the normal bods.

"I work for the local authority so I could travel from anywhere the other side of Shrewsbury to the other side of Stoke. The last thing you want to be is a carrier travelling that distance."

Also getting tested was Nirmal Singh Bains, 68, from Wolverhampton, who said: "I serve here. I come at half past three every morning.

"We arrange everything that goes on. Now they have asked me to take a test.

Nirmal Singh Bains

"I don't know if I have any symptoms, I don't think so.

"I think the set up of the test site is impressive. It is for people who can't speak English, they can come down here and some people can help them."

One man came down with his daughter but she got turned away as she was under 18 years of age. But it is not just the rapid test site that is age-restricted – so are the walk-in test centres.

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said he was hoping to get the first batch of tests as early as next week.

It has also been confirmed that Sandwell Council had applied to the Government to be part of the rapid testing pilot – and should receive tests in the coming weeks. Government chiefs confirmed that tests had been sent to Dudley and were in the ‘control of the authority’.

In a meeting held on Friday with the West Midlands Combined Authority, Clive Wright, Covid-19 regional convener for the West Midlands, addressed delays that Wolverhampton, Dudley and Staffordshire had faced in receiving the tests, and said he expected it to be a “slow start” but it was important to conduct the roll-out correctly.

It is not yet known when Staffordshire will be receiving its testing kits but council chiefs were hopeful it would be “very soon”.

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