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Renfrewshire Council 30 Nov 2020 Expansion of mass testing to get under way with Johnstone pilot

Johnstone residents without symptoms of Covid19 will this week be able to find out if they have the virus at the only fixed site in Scotland’s current mass testing pilot.

A testing centre will be open at Johnstone Town Hall from Wednesday (2 Dec) and has capacity to test up to 12,000 residents from the town over the following eight days.

Anyone who lives, works or goes to school in Johnstone and who is currently asymptomatic is being invited to attend the centre.

It is hoped the pilot will help slow the spread of the virus in the town, give a clearer picture of the extent of asymptomatic transmission within communities, and help inform future mass testing across the country.

Johnstone was chosen due to the high rates of Covid19 detected in recent weeks – the town saw a rate of 214 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days to November 26, and Renfrewshire is currently in Level Four restrictions.

The drop-in testing centre is being run by around 100 Renfrewshire Council staff and will run from Wednesday 2 December to Wednesday 9 December, from 8am to 8pm.

More detail on how it will work is at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test-johnstone

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, said: “Identifying asymptomatic people in our communities is an important step in the country’s response to coronavirus and it is welcome Johnstone has been chosen to feature in the pilot for mass testing.

“Testing on such a large scale will help our partners better understand the prevalence of the virus and provide crucial information to inform the approach to mass testing in the months ahead.

“I would appeal for as many people as possible in Johnstone to come along and find out whether they are unknowingly carrying the virus or not.

“With cases remaining high in the area, the testing centre is our chance to help slow the spread of the virus locally, protect family and friends and help us get back to normal more quickly.”

All residents, workers and learners aged over five in Johnstone without Covid19 symptoms are asked to take part in the pilot.

Anyone with symptoms should not come to the testing centre – they should book a test through the NHS instead. Anyone who has tested positive for Covid19 in the past 90 days, or who has been asked to self-isolate as a close contact, should also not come to the centre.

The Johnstone centre will be using lateral-flow tests, where results are ready in round 30 minutes. Anyone who tests positive will be asked to take a follow up PCR test – the same ones used in the government-run testing centres – to confirm the result.

If a positive test is confirmed, the person will be asked to self-isolate in line with national guidelines and contact tracing will take place.