COVID-19 testing for people who do not have obvious symptoms of the coronavirus is being made available in Stranraer from Monday February 8.
As part of an evolving national approach which is making more asymptomatic testing available, people in the DG8 and DG9 postcodes without symptoms will be able to book tests on the day of testing, or from 6.30 pm the day before.
A testing unit is currently based at Ashwood House in Stranraer, DG9 7JJ, seven days a week, with testing taking place from 11 am to 4 pm. Appointments are booked in advance. Those without symptoms should click the option to say that they have ‘been asked to get a follow-up test’ and then the option that they are ‘taking part in community testing’.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Interim Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “Testing of people both with and without COVID symptoms is something we’re likely to see becoming more commonplace in Scotland.
“Trials have taken place on smaller scales, with a unit which recently ran tests over four-days in Langholm and Canonbie having undertaken just two previous trials in Scotland.
“Rates of COVID in Wigtownshire have declined significantly over the past month, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices made by people in response to high rates at the start of the year – fuelled by the B.1.1.7 variant.
“Daily testing was instituted in Wigtownshire just before the end of last year in response to that spike in cases, but only for people with symptoms of the coronavirus.
“Although rates have fallen, access to testing for people without symptoms will hopefully mean that additional, undetected cases in the community can be picked up and the presence of the virus driven down further.
“It is very important that if you have symptoms of coronavirus you immediately self isolate with your household and book a test. If you do not have symptoms of coronavirus you do not need to self isolate prior to your test.
“It is really important to remember that a negative test result only means you do not have coronavirus at the point of the test. You may go on to subsequently develop coronavirus, and therefore it is critical that even with a negative result you continue to follow all the FACTS guidance and abide by the current rules.
“It is appreciated that there might be some initial high level of demand for testing, but we would ask people to note that testing will be running daily throughout the week and to stagger their approach.
“It’s really important that numbers are driven right down, not just to help protect ourselves, our loved ones and communities, but also to provide the basis for a move out of lockdown.”
Although testing will help identify cases, the coronavirus does not spread by itself. Instead, it takes advantage of people coming into close contact. Keeping a distance from others limits that opportunity, and the national message as part of the lockdown couldn’t be clearer – stay home, and save lives.
Increased testing capacity is just part of the means to help reduce numbers of cases; it should definitely not be relied on as the answer to this situation.
Testing continues to be available across the region via the mobile units, with capacity increased thanks to the additional daily testing in Stranraer, and there is now a fixed-location site in Dumfries. However, testing via all these opportunities must be booked in advance.
For more information visit: www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/
Home testing kits are also available and come with comprehensive instructions to guide you through administering the swab yourself. These kits are delivered and collected by Amazon and Royal Mail, and they do not have access to the results or any health data.
For information, visit https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/test-and-protect/coronavirus-covid-19-testing?fbclid=IwAR0N683cxdB2qTgkhWzamFC81AJc2n9hmfBoEto9oCiQGJVn386ZlHMSY60