Warrington Borough Council will be opening two rapid asymptomatic community testing sites, for people who are not displaying coronavirus symptoms, from Monday 11 January.
This testing pilot will help to identify people who are not displaying any coronavirus symptoms but who may still have the virus and could therefore pass it, unknowingly, to others. The sites have been established to help test those who cannot stay at home under the current restrictions, such as for those who need to go to work or provide care.
The testing sites, established at the south stand of the Halliwell Jones stadium, home to Warrington Wolves, and at Grappenhall Cricket Club, will use lateral flow tests (LFTs) to provide results rapidly without the need for laboratory equipment. This means that the sites will have the capacity to conduct hundreds of tests per day. The opening times for the first week of operation at the sites will be:
Halliwell Jones Stadium
- Weekdays: 12noon – 6pm
- Saturday: 8am – 3.30pm
Grappenhall Cricket Club
- Weekdays: 12noon – 6pm
- Saturday: 8.30am – 3.30pm
If you are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, including a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss of normal taste or smell, you must not turn up to either of the asymptomatic testing sites and should instead book a test through the normal process via the gov.uk website.
Visiting the site
You won’t need to book in advance to visit either asymptomatic testing site. The south stand of the Halliwell Jones will be used to register people and will have testing booths and recording facilities on-site. Grappenhall Cricket Club will also have a similar set-up, with clear signage in place to enter and exit the building. There will be queue management processes in place at both sites, so that those that live and work in Warrington can visit either site at any point during the general opening times.
Taking the test
Taking your test will be via a throat and nose swab, with clear guidance and instructions to be offered on-site. Testing staff at the facility will be available to direct people to testing booths and will advise on how to take the test. As soon as you have taken your test, you should leave the testing site, ensuring that you sanitise your hands and remain socially distanced from others.
Receiving your result
After you have taken the self-swab in the testing station and left the site, you will receive your result by text and/or email. If your result is positive, you must self-isolate immediately in line with the current guidance and restrictions and book a confirmatory coronavirus test in the normal way via gov.uk or by calling 119 if you do not have internet access.
If your test is negative, it is absolutely vital that you continue following the restrictions in place. Receiving a negative test result does not make you exempt from the current guidance and restrictions and it is important that everybody observes the rules in place by keeping socially distanced, wearing face coverings, washing hands and staying at home, unless you cannot.
Cabinet member for public health, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “It is really important that people who are not displaying any symptoms are tested on-site regularly so that we can continue to track cases of the virus and limit its transmission wherever possible.
“Please remember, however, that if you are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus, you should self-isolate immediately and book a test by visiting the gov.uk website or calling 119. Although we all need to stay at home given the current national lockdown, we know that this just isn’t possible for everyone, and these sites have been set up for people who need to leave home to work or provide care.”
Warrington Borough Council’s Director of Public Health, Thara Raj, said: “Asymptomatic testing is really important in trying to get coronavirus rates in Warrington down and these public facing testing sites, at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and Grappenhall Cricket Club, are for people who cannot work from home.
“You may hear people discussing the effectiveness of the lateral flow tests, but they have been able to pick up a number of people who did not know they had coronavirus because they weren’t displaying any symptoms. Getting a negative test does not mean that you can ignore the current rules and you absolutely cannot deviate from the national restrictions, regardless of your test result. What we hope, however, is that the tests will play their part in identifying more positive cases, which will help to contain the virus’ transmission.”