Cheshire East Council is trialling a dual use Covid-19 testing site – the first of its kind in the country.
From Tuesday 6 April, the existing walk-through local testing site in Crewe will become dual use, allowing residents to use a pre-booked service for both asymptomatic and symptomatic testing at different times during the day.
The site will be open from 8am–1pm for asymptomatic, lateral flow testing. This is a test for residents who have no symptoms of Covid-19.
Lateral flow tests (LFT) are rapid tests that are done on site and allow results to be received within the hour.
From 2–8pm the Crewe site will undertake symptomatic tests –these are tests for residents who have symptoms of Covid-19 – commonly referred to as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests.
PCR tests are sent to local laboratories and results are received by the resident within a few days. People taking these tests must self-isolate until they receive their results.
The site is located on Chester Street car park and is the second largest testing facility to open in the North West, second to testing facilities in Manchester. There are 19 testing pods available and the site has the capacity to carry out 500 tests a day. The trial of the dual use site will run for two weeks from 6–19 April.
Testing sessions for LFT and PCR tests are split during the day therefore there is no risk of asymptomatic and symptomatic residents mixing. The site is fully cleaned and disinfected in-between the morning and afternoon sessions and overnight.
Open from 8am until 8pm, the site offers improved access for the whole community, especially those who do not have access to a car.
Appointments for both asymptomatic and symptomatic tests must be booked in advance. Asymptomatic, lateral flow tests are booked via the council's website.
Symptomatic, PCR tests are booked via the national booking facility . No walk-up appointments will be available. Users will be asked to self-swab when attending.
Dr Matt Tyrer, director of public health for Cheshire East Council, said: “It’s an honour that our testing site in Crewe has been chosen to pilot this trial, the first of its kind in the country. The results of the trial will help to shape future testing facilities for local councils. “We have worked closely with the national testing team to secure the best provision for Cheshire East and through dedicated and innovative working, we have been given the responsibility of trying a new, flexible approach to testing, one that will be of great benefit to local residents.
“Staff are on hand throughout the appointment to give clear advice and guidance on what to do and where to go, in an efficient and relaxed environment.”