A new mobile community testing centre, offering rapid coronavirus tests with results within the hour, was successfully trialled at Devon and Cornwall Police’s Middlemoor HQ in Exeter today (Friday).
The mobile centre has been purchased by Devon County Council (DCC), and two specially trained members of the constabulary successfully tested Middlemoor-based officers and civilian staff.
And now, from next week, it will go on the road, offering rapid testing to the public in areas of Devon with the highest rates of COVID-19, with more mobile facilities expected to come online soon.
The mobile testing centres will be a vital part of DCC’s efforts to offer rapid testing to anyone in Devon who leaves their home to work or volunteer, and who may come into contact with others.
This could include for instance members of the emergency services, taxi drivers, trades people, or volunteers who are helping those that are shielding.
Around one in three people who have coronavirus do not show any symptoms and may unwittingly be spreading the infection.
Regular rapid testing identifies those non-symptomatic carriers of the virus – and anyone regularly in contact with others is encouraged to take these quick tests twice a week to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
And if they do test positive, they are required to self-isolate immediately to prevent them from transmitting it to others.
The mobile testing units will stop in the largest communities in the parts of Devon with the highest current prevalence of COVID-19.
They will be available in Honiton, Exmouth, Axminster, Okehampton, Tavistock and Ivybridge over the coming weeks.
The latest information about where to access testing is available on our website.
Working in concert with DCC’s fixed sites in Exeter and Barnstaple – with sites at Tiverton and Newton Abbot coming online soon – the mobile testing centres will help ensure that anybody who may come into contact with the public has the opportunity to be tested quickly and easily.
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said:
“These new mobile test centres will help us to offer more rapid COVID-19 tests in more locations to those who need it.
“The tests are quick, painless and easy to book with results back within an hour via text or email. By being regularly tested it could prevent you unintentionally passing the virus to others.
“But please remember, while a positive test will require you to self-isolate at home, a negative test does not remove the need to continue following national guidance around social distancing, wearing a face covering, and washing your hands properly and regularly. These simple steps are still vital in preventing the transmission of the virus.”
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Parker said:
“We welcome the co-operation of Devon County Council in providing this testing service to our officers and staff.
“Working closely and collaboratively with our partners has been a critical part of the multi-agency response to the pandemic throughout the last year.
“The support will enable at least some of our staff to have a test and allow them to be reassured if they are negative for COVID-19, but also take immediate, preventative action if they test positive.
“We continue to explore any avenue which could help protect our staff from exposure to COVID-19 and in turn enable us to continue to provide frontline service delivery to the communities of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”
Community Testing Centres are for people who are not showing any symptoms and who aren’t already accessing regular testing, through their employer for example. Anyone showing symptoms of having the virus should apply to the national testing programme
To book a rapid test and to find out more about Community Testing in Devon, visit devon.cc/testing