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Rapid Covid-19 community testing in Wick

By Jean Gunn

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A Covid-19 rapid lateral flow test kit in use.
A Covid-19 rapid lateral flow test kit in use.

Rapid Covid-19 community testing will be available at the riverside car park in Wick next week – from Monday to Friday.

The Highland Council and NHS Highland are delivering community testing to help people become confident in using the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits.

Covid-19 mobile clinics are being deployed in communities throughout the Highland region, with staff and volunteers who can assist in administering the test.

Wick has recently been experiencing high case rates of the virus – the highest in the Highlands – however, it has been stated that this deployment is not due to any particular outbreak.

The Jabbernaut mobile testing unit will be available for drop-in LFD testing for anyone without symptoms on the following days and times:

  • Monday, October 25: 12noon-4pm
  • Tuesday, October 26: 8am-4pm
  • Wednesday, October 27: 8am-4pm
  • Thursday, October 28: 8am-4pm
  • Friday, October 29: 8am-12noon

Those who attend the Covid-19 mobile clinics will now have the opportunity to enter a free monthly draw to win an Amazon Kindle e-reader (10th generation, with 6” backlit display) after completing an exit survey. The winner will be drawn by random at the end of the month.

The test uses the LFD kits and is easy to administer. The process of registration and testing takes approximately 10 minutes, and results are usually sent within an hour, though may occasionally take up to 24 hours.

Results will be sent by text and/or email to those attending, so there is no need to stay on site. Guidance is provided on what to do if a test is negative, positive or unclear.

By taking a rapid LFD test twice a week, we can help our community, families and friends stay safe and slow down the spread of coronavirus. Tracking down cases of the virus earlier will limit the spread of new variants.

If you have been vaccinated, you should still consider getting tested. While vaccines reduce the risk of infection after 14-21 days, people who have been vaccinated could still become infected. No vaccine provides 100 per cent protection against a virus.

No appointment is necessary to receive an LFD test. When you arrive at a mobile testing unit, you will first be asked to wait outside, before being registered and entering – you will then be escorted to a testing booth.

The mobile testing units will also be operating an LFD collect service, which makes packs of seven testing kits available for free to the public, to be taken away and used at home. If you are visiting a mobile clinic it is advised to take a test on-site, to familiarise yourself with the process, before taking a pack home.

Free LFD tests for people without Covid-19 symptoms are also available to collect from pharmacies in packs of seven, and they can be sent to your home by visiting nhsinform.scot/testing or by calling 119.

The LFD test is used in some workplaces already, including schools. If you already get tested through your workplace or education setting you should continue to use those routes.

Convener of the Highland Council, Bill Lobban said: "In Highland we now have three mobile testing units available to travel to identified locations with a team of trained staff to deliver testing for people without symptoms. Our mobile units can be deployed wherever needed.

"If mobile units come to your area we encourage you to make use of the testing facilities as this will enable quick detection of any localised cases of Covid-19. It also offers reassurance for anyone concerned about potentially being an asymptomatic carrier of the virus."

Dr Tim Allison, Director of Public Health with NHS Highland, said: "Many people who have coronavirus (Covid-19) have no symptoms, and will be spreading it without realising. By expanding community testing we will be able to identify more cases giving us a better chance of stopping Covid-19 from spreading.

"Testing for those without symptoms, asymptomatic testing, will help us to identify those who are positive but do not have symptoms. We can then advise them to self-isolate and therefore prevent spread.

"Anyone that tests positive with an LFD needs to get a confirmatory PCR test. More testing helps to show us how the virus is spread and will help us reduce risk."

The community testing programme offers rapid Covid-19 tests for people without symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you should not visit a mobile clinic. Instead, you should self-isolate immediately and seek a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Symptoms include new continuous cough, fever, or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.

Similarly, you should not attend asymptomatic testing sites if you are currently self-isolating because you have been identified as a close contact, or if you have tested positive in the last 90 days.

Related article: Wick remains top of Covid infection tables in Highlands

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