New COVID-19 testing site to open in Mangotsfield
A NEW COVID-19 testing site will be set up in Mangotsfield this week.
Cleve Rugby Football Club's Hayfields ground in Cossham Street is one of two new sites for mobile testing units in South Gloucestershire approved by the Department of Health and Social Care this week and is due to start working tomorrow.
The other new centre, which starts tests on Friday, is at the Ridings car park in Wickwar Road, Chipping Sodbury.
Tests will be available by appointment only.
The two new units join South Gloucestershire's first centre at UWE's Frenchay Campus, which is being reclassified as a local testing site from tomorrow.
It will relocated to a new longer-term site within the campus, where it can stay for at least three months, and will now offer only walk-up tests rather than a combination of pedestrian and drive-through tests.
Mobile testing units are set up on a short term basis and can be moved at a week's notice to areas of high demand, while local testing sites are designed to stay in a single location for three months or more at a time.
The two new sites are in areas which both have COVID-19 rates above the national average: in Mangotsfield, 30 new cases in the seven days to November 12 gave the area a COVID-19 case rate of 449.2 per 100,000.
Nearby areas also have COVID-19 case rates well above the national average of 272.9: in the ONS Downend South area there were 21 cases in the week to November 12, a rolling case rate of 316.3 per 100,000; in Downend North there were 27 cases (438.1); in Staple Hill North 21 (292.5); in Staple Hill South and Kingswood North West 48 (481.7); in Emersons Green 33 (271.7); in Pucklechurch & Westerleigh 52 (462.3); in Frenchay & Great Stoke, which includes UWE's Frenchay campus, 131 (822.2).
In Chipping Sodbury, 19 cases in the seven days to November 12 gave the town a rate of 294.9 per 100,000, while case rates are above average in three out of four neighbouring areas.
South Gloucestershire as a whole recorded 977 new cases in the seven days to 4pm yesterday, a rate of 342.7 per 100,000 people. Since the start of the pandemic, 5,160 cases have been officially confirmed in South Gloucestershire.
Appointments for tests can be made by calling 119 or online at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
They should only be made where someone has one of the three main coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or change in sense of smell or taste – or has been asked to take a test by a council public health team, doctor or other NHS clinician.
Director of Public Health, Sara Blackmore said: “Testing is a key part of our efforts to contain and stop the spread of Covid-19 and for those who need a test, we are working with Government to make that as easy as possible. In identifying these new locations in South Gloucestershire where testing can take place, we are making it possible for more tests to take place in our area for our residents.
“The other central part of our efforts to keep everyone safe is to all follow the rules. Remember: Hands. Face. Space. By continuing to do the right thing, you are keeping yourself, your family and your friends safe."
The council thanked Cleve RFC and the Chipping Sodbury Town Trust for their support in getting the new testing units set up.
Deputy leader Ben Stokes, said: “Local testing is really important, particularly for those who are less able to travel safely longer distances to get to existing facilities.
“I want to express my thanks to Cleve Rugby Club and to the Chipping Sodbury Town Trust in particular for stepping forward with their facilities to help us meet local needs. They are wonderful examples of the community spirit which has been the hallmark of so much of our collective efforts to help each other out during these very difficult times.
“I am also so proud of the efforts of our public health teams and of our residents who are following the guidance to keep themselves and the rest of the community as safe as possible. I want to thank you and to ask you to keep going. We will get through this by continuing to work together and to look after not only ourselves, but our friends and neighbours.”