Change of venue for virus test site

The opening of a Covid-19 test centre in a Wolverhampton village has been delayed after health officials decided the designated venue was unsuitable.

The Sikh community centre in Rookery Street, Wednesfield, which had been originally designated for use as a Covid-19 test centre.
The Sikh community centre in Rookery Street, Wednesfield, which had been originally designated for use as a Covid-19 test centre.

A walk-in site at the Sikh Community Centre in Rookery Street, Wednesfield, had been due to open this week.

Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, who had been co-ordinating the opening, said he received a message from the Department of Health and Social Care saying an alternative venue was now being sought.

“I’m really surprised at what I’ve just been told about a different site being needed instead of the centre in Rookery Street. But unfortunately this is beyond my control,” he said.

“And of course this only delays testing for the people of Wednesfield further. The local Guru Nanak Gurdwara had kindly donated the community centre free of charge and it was all set up and ready to go.

“I wasn’t given any reason why a different site is needed, but I’ve been told other venues in Wednesfield are now being looked at and we will have an answer by the end of the week.

“We’ve already been appealing for volunteers to come forward to help us staff the Wednesfield centre and had a great response. But this invitation still stands if anyone can spare any time at all in the coming weeks.

“As soon as I get a definite answer on where the Wednesfield test centre will be, I’ll make sure all volunteers and people in the community are informed,” he added.

The latest Covid-19 figures showed over 2,300 people in Wolverhampton tested positive for the virus in one week.

There were 889.7 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people recorded in the seven days leading up to Sunday, January 3.

This means 2,340 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that one-week period – although the true number of new cases is likely be considerably higher.

John Denley, the council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Testing is only part of the strategy to beat coronavirus, however, and we all need to keep doing everything we can to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the first place by following the latest lockdown guidelines, social distancing, washing our hands more often and wearing a face covering where required.”

Anyone willing to volunteer at the Wednesfield test centre should call Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal on 07771 836630 or email bhupinder.gakhal@wolverhampton.gov.uk

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