Fri, 12 Feb 2021
The first rapid coronavirus testing centre for key workers has opened in West Berkshire.
The special testing centre, set up by West Berkshire Council, is based in the yet-to-open Highwood Copse Primary School in Newbury and welcomed the first people for tests at 7.30am on Monday.
A second centre is due to open at Thatcham Rugby Club on Monday, with additional sites also planned for the east and west of the district in the coming weeks.
Council leader Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen) said more than 50 people had had the lateral flow tests in the first two days.
She said there would be a limited number of booths available at first, but that the process would get quicker over time as the system gets up and running.
“We really want to encourage key workers to make use of the testing centre,” she said.
“All the feedback I have received so far has been really positive.
“It is one measure that will assist us in the fight against Covid and I see it as part and parcel of the way we combat coronavirus going forward.
“The tests will be a useful guide, especially for asymptomatic people and because we are repeating the tests regularly it reduces the risk of a false negative.”
The centres will offer a range of opening hours – both before and after work – as the council aims to offer as much flexibility as possible.
The lateral flow tests that are being used provide results in around 30 minutes.
The scheme is government-funded and aims to prevent essential workers, such as supermarket employees, from transmitting the virus without realising.
The council says it will contact those who are eligible for a test and offer them an appointment.
People will not be allowed to turn up for a test without an appointment.
Management of the testing centres has been contracted out to Berkshire company Solutions 4 Health, while military planners have also had a hand in the logistics of the operation.