New COVID-19 testing centres to open for people without symptoms

New community testing centres are to open in Forth Valley over the next few weeks to offer rapid testing to local people who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. The move is part of national plans to expand community testing across Scotland over the next few months.

 A testing centre, which will be based in Polmont Sports Centre, will offer testing to people who live in Falkirk Council, including those who live and work in Grangemouth and the surrounding areas. A mobile testing centre will also visit a number of locations in Stirling and Clackmannanshire on a rotational basis.  Further information on the start dates, opening times and booking process will be issued by local councils in the next few weeks when the new facilities become operational.

The centres will provide lateral flow testing, with results available within 45 minutes. If the result is positive this will be followed up with a confirmatory PCR test. A range of national and local support is available to anyone who needs to self-isolate due to a positive result including financial support and food packages. Further advice and information on the support available can be found on NHS Inform and local council websites.

Dr Graham Foster, Director of Public Health, NHS Forth Valley, said: “We know that around one in three people who contract COVID-19 show none of the common symptoms so the introduction of these new testing centres will help identify more cases and stop the virus spreading in our local communities.”

The community testing initiative is a partnership between the Scottish Government, NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Stirling councils, both local Health and Social Care Partnerships and military planners. This includes a team of 23 members of the armed forces who will support the planning and implementation of the new Asymptomatic Test Sites (ATS) across Forth Valley.

Public Health Minister, Mairi Gougeon, said: “This programme has been made possible as our testing capacity has increased but it could not have happened without the support of our local partners, and everyone involved in Scotland’s testing programme, from diagnostic staff to sample takers, and I want to pay tribute to each and every one of you as we continue to work to suppress this virus together.

 “However, a test only tells us if we are positive at the point in time that we are being tested. It does not mean that we can stop following all of the rules and guidelines which are in place to protect all of us. Testing is only one layer of protection against this virus – all others including vaccination and the FACTS guidance work to the greatest effect when they work together. So it is essential that people continue to follow the restrictions currently in place to suppress COVID-19 to the lowest possible level in Scotland.”