Mobile Testing Unit Helps Raise Awareness of Covid-19

More than 1500 residents in two Stirlingshire communities responded to an appeal to get tested for Covid-19, following an increase in the number of positive cases in the Bannockburn area.

The action was prompted after there was evidence of spread in the local community and the virus has also affected a number of local schools and care homes. The mobile testing units were deployed as a precautionary measure but also to help raise awareness after reports that many local people were not aware of the increased levels and did not think that Covid-19 would affect them.

Feedback suggests that physical distancing has improved and people are taking increased precautions in locations such as at school gates.

The mobile testing unit was based for several days in Bannockburn and Plean and on the first day more than 300 people turned up to get tested.

NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Public Health, Dr Henry Prempeh, said: “This was a fantastic response to testing arrangements which were set up at very short notice. We worked closely with Stirling Council who helped get the message out there very quickly.

“Results suggest that apart from the increase in cases associated with the outbreak in a local care home and household cases which have affected a number of local schools, positive rates were no higher per head of population that anywhere else in Forth Valley which is very encouraging. However even identifying a small number of asymptomatic individuals is worthwhile as this will help reduce further spread. I was delighted to hear that the number of cases in the area’s schools is now levelling out and parents and carers collecting children from school are following the national guidelines.”

However Dr Prempeh cautioned that the response was measured over a very short time frame. Proof of lasting benefit will only come from longer-term monitoring to determine whether the rise in awareness will be sustained. He also encouraged anyone who develops symptoms of Covid-19 to book a test as soon as possible and stay at home until they get the results. This can be done via the NHS website and appointments can be booked at the University of Stirling testing centre (located in the East Car park between the Innovation Park and the Stirling Court Hotel) and the walk-in testing centre at Forthside adjacent to the Engine Shed. People can also phone NHS Inform on 0800 028 2816 if they don’t have online to the online portal or need help to complete it.

The symptoms of Covid-19 are any of the following:

  • A high temperature or fever
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss of, or change in sense of smell or taste

Further information on Covid-19 is available on the NHS Inform website.