‘Worst-hit’ area’s Covid test centre hopes

Health bosses in Wolverhampton are hoping to open a coronavirus test centre in one of the city’s worst-hit neighbourhoods, after plans for another walk-in site in the village fell through.

The Hub on Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park, Wednesfield. Photo: Google
The Hub on Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park, Wednesfield. Photo: Google

Wednesfield – and in particular the Ashmore Park estate – has been badly affected by high numbers of Covid-19 cases.

A test centre had been due to open at the Sikh Community Centre, Rookery Street, in Wednesfield village centre last week.

However, at the last minute Public Health chiefs decided the venue was unsuitable and a nearby alternative should be sought.

Councillor Phil Bateman said he had been given confirmation that The Hub, on Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park, was being investigated as a suitable testing centre for the area.

“Wednesfield and Ashmore Park have consistently been amongst the worst-hit areas in the West Midlands for cases of Covid-19, with both causing Public Health considerable worry,” he said.

“I have received correspondence from health officials to say that following a site visit, The Hub has been passed as a safe facility for a lateral flow test centre and that work is taking place.

“However, they will need to work very, very quickly to get everything up and running for rapid testing as soon as possible. This is of the utmost importance – people across Wednesfield have already faced delays in being able to access a test site.”

Latest figures show there were 830.9 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the seven days up to January 12.

This means 2,185 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that seven-day period, though the true number of new cases is likely to be considerably higher.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the council’s cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “We have an extensive network of testing facilities across Wolverhampton for people with and without symptoms of Covid-19.

“The message is clear – if you develop symptoms of Covid-19, you must self-isolate and book a test at one of our PCR test centres immediately.

“You’ll get your result inside an hour and, if it turns out you have got Covid-19, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

John Denley, the council’s Director of Public Health, added: “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 without symptoms can get a free test at one of Wolverhampton’s four public rapid test centres: the Civic Centre (Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm); the Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road West (10am-6.30pm daily); St Joseph’s Church, Willenhall Road (Monday-Friday, 2pm-6pm) and Pendeford Library (Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm). Please note, the Civic Centre is closed this Sunday (January 24) for essential maintenance.

People with symptoms – a new, continuous cough, a fever or a change to their sense of taste or smell – should book a PCR test at www.gov.uk.get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

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