News / coronavirus

First walk-through Covid-19 testing site in Bristol city centre opens

By ellie pipe, Thursday Aug 20, 2020

People with Covid-19 symptoms can be tested at a new site that has been opened in the car park of Bristol University’s Victoria Rooms.

City leaders hope the central location of the walk-through facility on Queen’s Road will help limit the spread of the virus as more residents will be able to access a free swab test.

The opening of the new site comes as mayor Marvin Rees advises people to take heed of the slight rise in cases, saying the increase is “inevitable” but serves to emphasis that Bristol cannot take its relatively low number of cases for granted.

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Christina Gray, the director of public health at Bristol City Council, believes the new walk-through testing site will help encourage more people in Bristol to take the test if they are unwell.

She said: “New reports of Covid-19 in Bristol are monitored very carefully by public health teams in both Bristol City Council and Public Health England.

“Our residents have shown great support and effort in following the guidelines, however we need to remain vigilant. I urge anyone who has symptoms of the virus to book a test as soon as possible so we can continue to prevent the spread.”

Speaking during a press briefing on Wednesday, Rees said 35 new cases had been recorded in the past seven days, up from ten previously, adding: “What we are saying is our numbers are still low, but it is a cause for concern. We should not be prematurely overconfident in our performance around Covid because we’ve done well in the past.

“There is increased risk as people are more mobile, they’re moving around, they’re socialising, they’re going on holiday, coming back from holiday. All these things will be playing out into cases of Covid.”

Rees reiterated the threat of Covid remained but said “our numbers are still low and these have levelled off”.

Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute. Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119, and results arrive the next day.

Testing is available to everyone, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

Deputy mayor Asher Craig said getting a test if you have any symptoms is key to preventing further infections, adding that everyone in Bristol should be proud of their efforts in limiting the spread of coronavirus so far.

Those being tested are advised not travel to the site by taxi or public transport, and they should follow social distancing, practice good personal hygiene and wear a face covering, including for travelling to and from the testing site.

Anyone testing positive for the virus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts.

The main symptoms of Covid-19 are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change sense of smell or taste.

Read more: Bristol museums to reopen

 

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