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HELP NEEDED: Plea for volunteers at Wednesfield test site

HELP NEEDED: Plea for volunteers at Wednesfield test site

Image: LDRS

The shocking toll of Covid-19 in Wolverhampton is soaring, with the latest figures showing over 2,300 people in the city tested positive for the virus in one week.

There were 889.7 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people recorded in the seven days leading up to Sunday, January 3.

This means 2,340 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that one-week period – although the true number of new cases is likely be considerably higher.

As the NHS and health workers battle to deal with the growing number of cases, the city’s latest test site is desperately appealing for more volunteers to help run it before it can open its doors.

The walk-in site at the Sikh Community Centre in Rookery Street, Wednesfield – which has been provided free of charge by the local Guru Nanak Gurdwara – was due to open earlier this week – but more volunteers are needed first.

Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal (Lab. Wednesfield South), who has been co-ordinating the opening of the centre, said: “Anyone who can spare a few hours to help out is welcome to contact me so we can get them trained up in order to meet all the necessary health and safety requirements.

“Even if people can only spare a few hours at the weekend or an hour in the evening then I would ask them to please contact me. I’m looking to get the centre open as soon as possible as it’s all fitted out and ready to go.

“It will certainly be open well before the end of January, but we need more volunteers so I can draw up a proper rota and get things moving as soon as possible.

“Once it’s up and running, the centre will be very clearly signposted from the main road. No-one needs an appointment. People can just queue up, get tested and then within 30-40 minutes they will have the results.

“It will be open seven days a week and I will be there every day to oversee things. I’m expecting around 100 people a day to come through the doors during the six weeks that the centre will be open,” he added.

“At the moment we’re looking at provisional opening times of 8am-5pm Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday.”

“But I would ask anyone who can help out to please get in touch. Things are very serious at the moment and I can’t stress how important it is that the people of Wednesfield get tested.”

John Denley, the council’s Director of Public Health, added: “The lateral flow Covid-19 tests give people their results inside 60 minutes, which will enable us to break chains of transmission much more quickly.

“Testing is only part of the strategy to beat coronavirus, however, and we all need to keep doing everything we can to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the first place by following the latest lockdown guidelines, social distancing, washing our hands more often and wearing a face covering where required.”

 Cllr Greg Brackenridge (Lab. Wednesfield South) said: “It is pleasing to once again see another vital initiative by volunteers from the local Gurdwara in Well Lane, Wednesfield, get off the ground.

“I am extremely thankful to the many volunteers from all communities right across Wednesfield who have given their time and efforts to help others through this pandemic.

“They provide essential services for those in need and should be proud of their achievements.”

Balvinder Singh Bajwa from the Guru Nanak Gurdwara added: “We are very happy to provide the use of our centre to help the community get tested and stay safe.”

The Wednesfield centre will join six other testing sites in the city – a drive-through centre at Aldersley Leisure Village and walk-through centres at Faulkland Street, Showell Road, Blakenhall Community Resource Centre, Mountford Lane in Bilston and St Joseph’s Church, Willenhall Road.

Anyone willing to volunteer at the test centre in Rookery Street, Wednesfield, should call Cllr Bhupinder Gakhal on 07771 836630 or email bhupinder.gakhal@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Words: Joe Sweeney, Local Democracy Reporter 


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