One of the greatest areas of concern and one of the key tools in our nation’s fight with Coronavirus is the need to hugely ramp up our access to testing and implement a tracing regime that quickly notifies and isolates people who have been exposed to the virus.
In February, the World Health Organisation gave their three word advice to all nations to combat the virus ;”Test, test, test”. In Britain we have lagged far behind countries like Germany in the numbers of people that we have tested, as the Government response has been criticised for being too slow, too limited and too uncoordinated.
However, testing capacity is improving and I am keen to ensure everyone is aware of the current facilities available.
The testing is only available for people who are displaying symptoms that could be Coronavirus. I am pushing to ensure that as capacity grows people who are likely to have been exposed to the virus but don’t have symptoms could also be tested, but right now only symptomatic people can get a test.
The Government have a national portal where essential workers can register for a test. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scaling-up-testing-programmes The nearest static location to Chesterfield is in Nottingham which is not acceptable, but there is a temporary military location at Bakewell for the next three days, and I am hoping to hear that there will be a static location in Central Derbyshire in the next day or so.
You can read more about the difference between essential workers and key workers on the Gov.uk website link above. But, all key workers (NHS, Care staff, Emergency services and local authority workers) can access a local test at the Proact Stadium in Chesterfield) by getting their management to email Ddccg.firstname.lastname@example.org . These tests are only available to workers who have symptoms.
There is currently a huge amount of this capacity that is not being used, so I am urging Government to extend the eligibility to people who have been exposed to the virus recently, in order to try and prevent people from spreading the virus unwittingly.
Testing will remain crucial and I will support any government plans to extend the testing facilities available, but I hope this provides immediate answers to the question of who is eligible and where they can get tested.