The ability to book and get a test for Covid-19 in Cheshire and Merseyside has never been better.
With the roll-out of 17 new semi-permanent Local Testing Sites in the last six weeks, and a new large-scale drive-through Regional Testing Site opening soon – the capacity to test people with symptoms has had a huge boost.
The new Regional Testing Centre, in Runcorn, will be open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. It will be located at the Heath Business Park, Heath Road South Car Park, Runcorn, WA7 4QQ, and is expected to open on Wednesday, November 4.
People can book appointments, if they have symptoms, through www.gov.uk or by calling 119.
The new Regional Testing Site in Runcorn is in addition to the existing regional centres at Haydock Park in Newton-le-Willows, and John Lennon Airport in Liverpool.
Julia Rosser, Halton Borough Council’s Public Health Consultant and Lead on Testing, said: “People did experience difficulties in getting a test when and where they needed it during the summer. However, both the sites and the laboratory capacity now seem to have improved significantly.
“We are seeing that our sites have availability for testing on a daily basis, particularly at weekends, and would encourage anyone who needs a test to book a test.
“We have worked together across Cheshire and Merseyside to get this right and ensure that testing is easily available to anyone who needs it. The sites we now have in place, whether they are regional, local or mobile; allow people who develop symptoms to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to continue to self-isolate.”
In addition to this, the network of new Local Testing Sites gives Directors of Public Health, in each of the nine boroughs in Cheshire and Merseyside, one or more semi-permanent facilities on their doorstep to get local people tested when they need to.
There is also a fleet of nine Mobile Testing Sites which are deployed across Cheshire and Merseyside to help in priority areas and where there are specific outbreaks.
As the Liverpool City Region moved into Tier 3 restrictions the prevalence of the virus meant that more people are experiencing symptoms need to be tested.
More capacity across the national laboratories has also come on-line meaning it is much easier to book an appointment for a test than ever before.
Testing Director for Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “We now have more facilities and more lab capacity to enable anyone with symptoms to seek a test.
“We have worked extremely hard with partners, including local councils, laboratories and NHS Trusts to ensure that we have the infrastructure and capacity we need in Cheshire and Merseyside as we see a second surge of Covid-19.
“It is vital that people, who have symptoms, get a test and then ensure they strictly adhere to the self-isolation advice if they prove to be positive. Testing helps identify those who are carrying the disease and helps to stop the spread of the virus to others.
“Our ability to offer more routes to access testing will help us protect lives and protect livelihoods by ensuring we are able to do more testing every day.”
Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 to find out if they currently have coronavirus.