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NHS Highland and Highland Council's 'Testalot' and 'Moves Like Jagger' Covid community testing on offer in Inverness and Alness

By Alasdair Fraser

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Mobile Covid-19 testing unit.
Mobile Covid-19 testing unit.

Rapid Covid-19 community testing will be available in Inverness and Alness throughout next week.

From Monday to Friday, Highland Council and NHS Highland will deliver the service to help people become more confident in using the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits.

Covid-19 mobile clinics are being deployed throughout the Highland region, with staff and volunteers able to assist in administering the test.

The two authorities stressed that deployment to Inverness and Alness was not due to any particular outbreak in those areas.

The mobile testing unit nicknamed Moves Like Jagger will be available for drop-in LFD testing for anyone without symptoms at Tesco Car Park at Inverness Retail Park, Eastfield Way between the hours of 9 am and 4.30 pm.

Similarly, the so-called Testalot unit will be available at Obsdale Road Car Park in Alness.

For the latter, opening hours differ slightly on Monday (10am-4:30pm) and on Friday (9am-3pm).

Those attending the clinics can also enter a free monthly prize draw to win an Amazon Kindle e-reader (10th generation, with 6” backlit display) after completing an exit survey.

The winner will be drawn by random at the end of the month.

The test uses the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) and is easy to administer.

The process of registration and testing takes approximately 10 minutes, and results - sent by text or email - are usually sent within an hour up to a maximum of 24 hours.

Guidance is provided on what to do if a test is negative, positive or unclear.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “By taking a rapid LFD test twice a week, we can help our community, families and friends stay safe and slow down the spread of coronavirus.

“Tracking down cases of the virus earlier will limit the spread of new variants.

“If you have been vaccinated, you should still consider getting tested. While vaccines reduce the risk of infection after 14 to 21 days, people who have been vaccinated could still become infected.

“No vaccine provides 100 per cent protection against a virus.”

No appointment is necessary for attending a mobile testing unit.

Convener of Highland Council Bill Lobban said: “In Highland, we now have three mobile testing units available to travel to identified locations with a team of trained staff to deliver testing for people without symptoms.

“Our mobile units can be deployed wherever needed.

“If mobile units come to your area we encourage you to make use of the testing facilities as this will enable quick detection of any localised cases of COVID-19.

“It also offers reassurance for anyone concerned about potentially being an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.”

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health with NHS Highland, said: “Many people who have coronavirus (COVID-19) have no symptoms, and will be spreading it without realising.

“By expanding community testing we will be able to identify more cases giving us a better chance of stopping COVID-19 from spreading.

“Testing for those without symptoms, asymptomatic testing, will help us to identify those who are positive but do not have symptoms.

“We can then advise them to self-isolate and therefore prevent spread.

“Anyone that tests positive with an LFD needs to get a confirmatory PCR test. More testing helps to show us how the virus is spread and will help us reduce risk.”

Those with symptoms should not attend a mobile testing clinic and should, instead, self-isolate immediately and seek a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Symptoms include new continuous cough, fever, or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.

Similarly, nobody should attend asymptomatic testing sites if currently self-isolating because of being identified as a close contact, or after testing positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days.

PCR tests for people with Covid-19 symptoms can also be arranged by visiting nhsinform.scot/testing or by calling 119.

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