A pop-up drive-through coronavirus mobile testing unit is coming to the Island tomorrow (Friday).
Given the increase in cases and demand for tests, additional testing capacity has been set up to ease the pressure on the current facility at Newclose County Cricket Club, Blackwater Road, Newport.
The mobile testing unit will be at 1Leisure Medina, Newport for three weeks. It will be open seven days a week, including Sundays, from 9.30am until 3pm.
The COVID-19 testing centre at Newclose has also extended its opening hours to 9am until 4pm (Monday to Saturday) in order to carry out more tests as needed.
These changes to testing on the Island increase capacity from 400 to around 800 tests per day as required.
People with COVID-19 symptoms who are unable to get a test slot online should call 119 and will then be advised of appointments at either Newclose or 1Leisure Medina.
Home testing kits can also be ordered online or via 119. These should be posted in priority post boxes: COVID-19 home test: step-by-step guide (adults and children) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Isle of Wight Council leader, Dave Stewart, said:
“I am pleased we are moving quickly on this opportunity.
"Increased testing enables us to pinpoint the virus, help those infected and isolate and protect those put at risk. The sharp rise in local cases means we must make sure people who need a test, have swift access to one.
“I am grateful to our team and our Local Resilience Forum (LRF) for pulling this initiative together so quickly and hope that increased access to testing provides reassurance to our community as we work together to get our cases down.
"This approach will also help to relieve pressure on the testing centre at Newclose and the NHS team that has been staffing the site.”
Simon Bryant, the council's director of public health, said:
“It remains extremely important that we all stick to the guidelines and stay at home – only leave home to purchase essential items, get a COVID-19 test, for exercise or to work if you absolutely cannot work from home.
"If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and don’t leave home for any reason except to get a test at either Newclose or 1Leisure Medina.”
Alison Smith, managing director of NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The Island community has been working incredibly well at keeping rates of the virus down, however we know that, like the rest of the country, the numbers have been increasing at a much greater rate.
“One of the key things we can do to continue to keep people safe is to offer more COVID-19 tests and it’s great to see we are increasing our capacity to enable this.
“Of course all of the other precautions must still remain – I remind everyone to continue to wash their hands for 20 seconds regularly, to wear a face covering when required and to maintain social distancing of two metres.”