“Testing is one way of breaking the chain”

Wolverhampton’s fifth Covid-19 rapid testing centre welcomes its first visitors today (Friday 22 January, 2021).

The centre, offering free testing to people without symptoms of Covid-19, has been established at The Hub at Ashmore Park and will be open five days a week except Wednesdays and Sundays.

Rapid testing, which uses lateral flow technology to provide results in under an hour, can identify cases in people who don’t have any symptoms of the virus but who could still be infectious. Anyone who tests positive is then able to self-isolate to prevent spreading the virus onto others.

James Clarke, Chairman of Ashmore Park Community Association, said: “Being a local organisation, made up of local people, we have seen the disruption and devastation the pandemic has caused on our doorstep and we were keen to do anything we could to help.

“Sadly, our building has been closed since March in order to protect both our visitors and volunteers, so when we were approached by the council to use The Hub as a rapid testing site we didn’t hesitate.

“Ashmore Park has seen one of the highest infection rates in the country and rapid testing is one way of breaking the chain of transmission and protecting our loved ones, so I’d urge anyone without symptoms to visit The Hub for a lateral flow test – you’ll get your result within an hour.”

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “We are very grateful to the team at The Hub at Ashmore Park for enabling us to establish a rapid Covid-19 testing centre there.

“Well over 30,000 rapid tests have been completed in Wolverhampton since December, with around 4.5% of tests coming back positive. Those who have tested positive have subsequently been able to self-isolate, which will help break the chain of transmission and reduce the spread of the virus.”

The Hub at Ashmore Park will be open for Covid-19 rapid testing from 10am-6pm every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The site is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Rapid testing is also available at the Civic Centre (Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm, except this Sunday, when the site is closed for maintenance); the Jamia Masjid Bilal on Newhampton Road West (10am-6.30pm daily); Pendeford Library (Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm); and St Joseph’s Church, Willenhall Road (Monday-Friday, 2pm-6pm). No appointment is necessary.

In addition, testing for people working in education and early years settings is available at Pendeford Library from 7am-10am and 4pm-6pm, Monday to Friday; staff are asked to bring their work ID or a pay slip to confirm eligibility.

Rapid testing is not available to people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or to anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, which include a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell. They should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.

For full details of all the rapid and PCR testing facilities in Wolverhampton, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus-testing.

Latest figures show there were 802.9 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the seven days to 18 January. That means 2,112 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that seven day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidalert.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more