Symptom-free coronavirus testing comes to the borough

Published Monday 11 January 2021 at 15:07

Community urged: “If you have to leave your home to work during lockdown: get tested.”

Residents in the borough can now get tested for coronavirus even if they don’t have symptoms, with the opening of two walk-in venues offering ‘rapid SMART testing’ from today (Monday, January 11) – no appointments are needed.

The news follows the Government’s announcement over the weekend that everyone who has to leave their home to work during the lockdown should start getting regularly tested, at least once a week to stop the spread of the virus.

SMART tests will be available at community testing hub sites at Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park and King George’s Hall in Blackburn.

These rapid tests are aimed at finding people who may have no symptoms but are infectious. Also known as a Lateral Flow Test, the results can be given in around thirty minutes, as they don’t need to go to a laboratory for testing.

Together with the vaccination roll-out, increased testing is a ‘key weapon’ in the battle against coronavirus.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

I’m delighted to see Ewood Park opening as a large community SMART testing hub in the borough. Along with our site at King George’s Hall, these hubs mean we can test more people regularly and quickly.

The message is now if you have to leave your home to work during the lockdown then please start to test regularly to stop the spread of covid. Along with the rollout of the vaccination programme, this should hopefully mark another turning point in our battle with the virus. One in three people with coronavirus do not have any symptoms and so can pass on the virus without knowing it, so I’d encourage people to utilise these hubs, get tested and help us break the chain of transmission.

Who can get tested?

The centres are open to everyone with no Covid-19 symptoms. Those living in the Ewood, Blackburn South and Lower Darwen and Town Centre areas are especially encouraged to attend as infection rates are particularly high here.

Do you need to book?

There’s no need to book, you can just walk/drive to the site and get a test, with test results in half an hour. You can visit during the opening times next to each centre. You just need a mobile number or email address to register when you arrive.

Where are the centres?

  • Ewood Park (Darwen End): Opening 11am-6.30pm
  • King George’s Hall, Blackburn: Opening 10am-5.30pm

What happens if I test positive?

If you get a positive result to a symptom-free test, you must go home immediately, self-isolate and book a PCR test to confirm you have the virus.

If you need help accessing shopping or supplies please ask a family member, friend or neighbour to help. Alterntiavely the Council’s Help Hub can help.

How do I get a home test kit?

Home test kits are available for people with Covid symptoms. You can request a home kit to be posted out to you online or by calling 119.

Further background information for residents

The community testing hub site at King George’s Hall was recently set-up for lateral flow testing, The programme initially focused on Council staff and local businesses and has now been widened to other groups.

The programme is being co-ordinated by the Lancashire Resilience Forum and has initially  involved logistics support from the army. It is part of the government’s national drive to continue to increase testing capability.

If you have symptoms, then you can book a free test by calling 119, book online or through the government’s NHS Covid app.

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