COVID TEST: Rapid test van hits the streets in Solihull
A burger van-style vehicle is being deployed to offer rapid Covid testing on the streets of Solihull – starting on an estate which has seen a worrying bulge in cases.
The council has promised regular updates on where its new mobile testing unit, currently stationed in Smith’s Wood, will be deployed to next.
While at first glance the van and trailer looks similar too a fast food unit, the protective screens and public health slogans give the game away.
The North Solihull neighbourhood has been chosen as the first stop for testers, after the area saw a troubling spike in cases earlier this month.
Latest fortnightly data – released on Friday – shows it had the highest number of positive tests of all 17 borough wards from March 10-23.
There were 93 cases over the course of the fortnight, a period where six other wards were still reporting infections in single figures.
The council has said that mobilising quickly was the best way of containing outbreaks as the borough started to emerge from lockdown.
As the month has gone on, the steady fall across all areas has become more patchy – with some continuing a gradual decline and others seeing signs of an increase. Although Smith’s Wood has reported the most marked rise.
A spokesman said: “This service is for local people who do not have Covid symptoms and for those who also may be working in the general area where the unit is stationed.
“No appointment is needed simply turn up at the specified location during the operating hours.”
The ability of the unit to pitch up at short notice in different communities is intended to make the asymptomatic testing “more convenient and accessible”.
It will bolster the community testing which is already offered at North Solihull Sports Centre and Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.
These sites also use the lateral flow tests for people who are not showing the signs of the virus and may unknowingly infect others.
Opened while Solihull was still at the height of the second wave, the venues were originally targeting key workers but expanded to the wider public earlier this month.
It is crucial that anyone who does have the Covid symptoms does not use the van or sports centre sites and instead books a traditional test at Monkspath Hall Road or Birmingham Airport. Call 119 or visit the national booking system webpage.
More information about booking tests in Solihull is available at www.solihull.gov.uk/COVID-19/covid-testing
- The unit will be in Smith’s Wood village centre, Burtons Way – outside the Quids In shop – today and tomorrow (March 29-30). It is open from 9.30am-4.30pm.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Latest case data by ward (figures for March 10-23, showing change from previous fortnight):
- Bickenhill – 26 (+6)
- Blythe – 16 (+2)
- Castle Bromwich – 21 (+7)
- Chelmsley Wood – 30 (-1)
- Dorridge & Hockley Heath – 8 (-1)
- Elmdon – 12 (-8)
- Knowle – 6(-1)
- Kingshurst & Fordbridge – 43 (+11)
- Lyndon – 20 (-2)
- Meriden – 16 (+9)
- Olton – 16 (+6)
- Silhill – 4 (-14)
- Shirley East – 8 (-4)
- Shirley South – 11 (-7)
- Shirley West – 8 (-1)
- St Alphege – 5 (-3)
- Smith’s Wood – 93 (+56)
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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