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  • Writer's pictureDan Heley

Pilot community testing hub for students and staff opens today at Weston College

A pilot pop up community testing hub opens in the town today in the next stage of the town's fight against the pandemic. A testing facility opens today at Weston College’s Loxton Road campus for students and staff who are not showing symptoms of coronavirus.

The scheme is part of plans to bring targeted community testing to North Somerset, which as previously reported by Weston Independent News, could be further extended by new government tier 3 testing options in the future Community testing is used to find people who have Covid-19 with no symptoms, typically known as being "asymptomatic".

The test uses a sample of saliva to look for signs of Covid-19, with results being available within a day.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for health, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “By taking a test you could be saving a life as you reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19, so I encourage anyone who is offered a test to take it up. Throughout the pandemic we have worked closely with Weston College and we are grateful for their support and cooperation with this testing pilot.”

Director of Public Health, Matt Lenny, said: “Community testing will help us suppress the virus by helping us find people who have no symptoms who would otherwise be spreading Covid-19. It is an important reminder that anyone can spread the virus without having symptoms, so we have to keep going with all of behaviours that protect ourselves, our family and our community. Washing your hands, wearing a face covering if you can, and staying at least two metres away from anyone not in your household or support bubble are still the most important things everyone can do to stop the spread.”

Schools across the town have seen large numbers of students forced into self isolation after positive cases of the virus.

Weston College Principal, Dr Paul Phillips, said: “The greatest concern expressed to me by staff is that they want testing to be in place for both themselves and learners. We have been working with North Somerset Council to respond and I am really pleased we are able to be the first organisation to take part in the pilot for asymptomatic community testing.”

Community testing is different from the tests already available to anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus. For those with symptoms, mobile testing units are currently operating seven days a week in the town at Locking Road car park.



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