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Rapid coronavirus community testing will be available at Inshes Retail Park in Inverness from Monday until Friday


By Ian Duncan

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

Highland Council and NHS Highland are delivering community testing in the Highlands to help people become confident in using the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits.

Covid-19 mobile clinics are being deployed in communities throughout the region with staff and volunteers who can help in administering the test and the deployment to Inverness East is not due to any particular outbreak.

The mobile testing unit Jabbernaut will be available for drop-in LFD testing for anyone without symptoms at Tesco Car Park in Inshes Retail Park: on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 9am and 4pm; and on Friday from 9am to 3.30pm.

Those who attend a Covid-19 mobile clinic will also have the opportunity to enter a free monthly draw to win an Amazon Kindle e-reader 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 are usually sent within an hour, though may occasionally take up to 24 hours. Results will be sent by text and/or email to those attending, so there is no need to stay on site. Guidance is provided on what to do if a test is negative, positive or unclear.

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 14-21 days, people who have been vaccinated could still become infected. No vaccine provides 100 per cent protection against a virus.

No appointment is necessary to receive an LFD test. When you arrive at a mobile testing unit, you will first be asked to wait outside, before being registered and entering. You will then be escorted to a testing booth. Guidance will be given on how to take the test, and there is no need to wait on-site to receive your result.

The mobile testing unit will also be operating an LFD Collect service, which makes packs of seven testing kits available for free to the public, to be taken away and used at home. If you are visiting a mobile clinic it is advised to take a test on-site, to familiarise yourself with the process, before taking a pack home.

Free LFD tests for people without Covid-19 symptoms are also available to collect from pharmacies in packs of seven, and can be sent to your home by visiting here, or by calling 119.

The LFD test is used in some workplaces already, including schools. If you already get tested through your workplace or education setting you should continue to use those routes.

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 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.”

The community testing programme offers rapid Covid-19 tests for people without symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you should not visit a Covid-19 mobile clinic. Instead, you should 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, you should not attend asymptomatic testing sites if you are currently self-isolating because you have been identified as a close contact, or if you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days.

Whilst the unit is being deployed, anyone that has symptoms of Covid-19, or has been identified as a close contact of Covid-19, will not be tested on-site and must access PCR testing.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately and seek a PCR test. Symptoms include new continuous cough, fever, or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste. If you have symptoms, you should not use an LFD test.

Similarly, you should not attend asymptomatic testing sites if you are currently self-isolating because you have been identified as a close contact, or if you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days.

PCR tests for people with Covid-19 symptoms can also be arranged by visiting here or by calling 119.


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