New walk-through coronavirus testing facility opens in St Helens
A new walk-through coronavirus testing facility has opened at the former St Helens fire station.
Testing is only available for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Anyone with one or more of these symptoms can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
From the start of the pandemic, testing has been prioritised for the most vulnerable, including patients in clinical settings, care home residents and vital health and care staff, to manage outbreaks.
The new site is easily accessible without a car. 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.
Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through test 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.
Testing at the new site started on Friday, with appointments made available each day.
It has been opened as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing.
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 78 drive-through sites, 253 walk-through sites, 258 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and five Lighthouse laboratories.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them trace 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.
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 chairman 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 G4S and will offer self-administered tests.
Gordon Brockington, G4S director, said: “We are proud of our important role in setting up and managing this Covid-19 testing site, and other similar sites across the UK. It has been inspiring to see the enthusiasm of our employees to step up and support the government, our health services and the public during this crisis.”