RAPID Covid-19 testing is underway in Saddleworth and Oldham with help from the military for key workers without symptoms of the virus.
About 150 tests were carried out on the first day – Monday, January 18 – at Uppermill Civic Hall.
People who work in public-facing jobs and key workers who find it hard to socially distance at work can access the tests, which give results within 30 minutes.
The military have been drafted in to work alongside public sector staff to carry out the tests at four sites in Oldham: Uppermill Civic Hall, Shaw Lifelong Learning Centre, Failsworth Town Hall, and Oldham Community Leisure Centre.
At the Civic Hall on Lee Street, the doors are open from 9am to 7pm every day except Sunday. The sites are provisionally open to the end of March to support Oldham’s efforts in continuing to contain, manage and ultimately defeat Coronavirus.
No appointment is necessary but visitors will need to bring identification which confirms their place of work or status as a key worker, for example work identification badge or key worker letter.
Visitors will be asked to enter at the front of the Civic Hall and register in the entrance hall before being directed upstairs to take their test.
The ballroom has been split into booths where each visitor will be instructed on how to take their own oral and nasal swabs.
The rapid tests do not need to be processed by a specialist laboratory and can produce results within 30 minutes, which is sent by email or text.
No vaccines are available at this site, only testing for key workers without symptoms of the virus.
More details of the sites opening times and locations can be found online https://www.oldham.gov.uk/keyworkertesting
Councillor Arooj Shah, deputy leader of Oldham Council, said: “This is another significant piece of the jigsaw to tackle coronavirus in Oldham and the call to action is for businesses and workers to continue to play their part and we thank them for their efforts so far.
“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, testing has been a key feature of managing and containing the spread of the virus. Until this point, testing has mainly been available for people with symptoms.
“Oldham – along with other Greater Manchester areas – is part of the national programme to offer regular rapid testing to people with no symptoms.
“Regular testing is being offered to people who are at higher risk of coming into contact with the virus, for example due to working in public-facing roles or in workplaces with high numbers of staff, as well as settings where the risks of spreading the virus are greatest.”
The borough had the highest coronavirus infection rate in the country two months ago but now has one of the lowest in Greater Manchester.