Frontline workers who have been so instrumental in supporting the whole borough during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are to now benefit from the new Find And Stop Transmission (FAST) testing that is being rolled out across the borough to fight against the spread of the virus.
From Monday, 18 January 2021 anyone who cannot work from home or comes into regular contact with the public is encouraged to take up this offer to protect themselves, their loved ones, and other residents.
'It's so important that our frontline workers take this up. They've done so much for the borough; this testing service is for them and to help protect them'
Councillor Daalat Ali, cabinet member for healthy lives, said: "I'm delighted to see the speed in which we've got this testing available to our residents. A key way we will fight the spread is if we all come together, get tested weekly and follow the guidelines in place. It's so important that our frontline workers take this up. They've done so much for the borough; this testing service is for them and to help protect them."
This FAST testing programme, which uses lateral flow tests, aims to identify those who unknowingly have the virus as they have no symptoms – otherwise known as asymptomatic.
'We cannot get away from the fact that 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms'
Andrea Fallon, director of public health at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "We cannot get away from the fact that 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms. This means that those people who cannot work from home and are more in contact with the public could unknowingly pass the virus on, with devastating consequences. The whole borough has given up so much and supported us all throughout these hard times. Now, more than ever, we need to pull together and get tested; not just for ourselves, but for each other."
FAST tests are only for people showing no symptoms. You must not attend if you have any symptoms. Tests are free and there is no need to book you can simply turn up to one of the 5 sites across the borough:
- Rochdale – Nye Bevan House
- Heywood – Heywood Sports Village (both a walk in site and a drive thru site)
- Middleton – Bowlee Sports Centre
- Pennines – location and opening date to be confirmed shortly
All sites are open 8am–8pm Monday to Friday and 10am–4pm at weekends.
People are encouraged to get tested twice weekly to provide greater protection to themselves and others.
There will also be roving test centres going out into the community and workplaces to reach people directly, especially where there are high transmission rates.
Testing will start from Monday, 18 January 2021, except in Littleborough which will start later. Initially the Army will be providing some personnel support to the sites. This will involve officers supporting with directions, car park management, and explaining next steps.
The actual test is done by the individual person taking it.
'I know our residents will show their appreciation by turning up and getting tested regularly'
Councillor Ali, continued: "We are grateful to the Army and our own army of volunteers for their support. This has been a huge project and we're running many different testing centres as well as vaccine sites across the borough; it's an incredibly busy time. The support of everyone helping to get this off the ground is greatly appreciated. I know our residents will show their appreciation by turning up and getting tested regularly."
If you have COVID-19 symptoms please do not attend. You should book a test via the NHS website or phoning 101.
You must continue to wear a mask and keep socially distant on the testing sites.
Please ensure you follow the instructions carefully at all times. You will be guided to a booth to complete the test.
You should wear a face covering at all times except when the test is taking place unless you are exempt.
The test should not take any longer than a few minutes and is similar to a COVID-19 test for when you have symptoms.
Results are given by text or email after half an hour of your test.
If you test negative you must continue to follow all the guidelines in place. Please continue to get tested weekly.
If your test is positive, you have a legal duty to self-isolate - even if you subsequently obtain a negative PCR test result.