A new walk-through coronavirus testing centre is opening today in Portslade, allowing people in the west of the city to access tests more easily.
The testing unit will be at the site of the former PACA sixth form school, most recently used by Kings School, on the corner of High Street and Mile Oak Road.
As with the other testing centres, the mobile centre at Withdean and the walk-through centre at East Brighton, appointments must be booked in advance via the NHS website or by calling 119.
The opening of the East Brighton site on 22 September was followed by a 60% rise in tests carried out in Brighton and Hove. However, the availability of tests is still rationed in the city, as resources are concentrated in areas with higher rates.
Testing is available only for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face-covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We continue to expand testing to make sure that everyone with symptoms can get a test, with our new walk-in sites making it even easier no matter where you live.
“This new site forms part of our national testing network, which has the capacity to test more than a million people a week and is growing all the time.
“If you have symptoms of coronavirus, I urge you to book a test today and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted to protect others around you and stop the spread of the virus.”
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Our new walk through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test.
“This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand testing across the UK to deliver 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.
“Please book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.
“Everybody should continue to think hands, face, space, and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted – this is the only way we can return to a more normal way of life.”
The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Sodexo and will offer self-administered tests.
Sean Haley, regional chair of Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “Sodexo teams have moved quickly to set up COVID-19 testing centres as part of the industry-wide effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Portslade site will mean more people can be tested. I am proud of our colleagues who are working together with pace and dedication to support the NHS.”
Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history, which now includes more than 500 sites available across the UK, including 77 drive-through sites, 172 walk-through sites, 258 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and five mega laboratories.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.
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