ROTHERHAM’S biggest public car park will house a new walk-in coronavirus test centre next week.
A huge marquee is set to fill a section of Forge Island car park, Rotherham Council exclusively revealed to the Advertiser, with plans for testing to be up and running by the middle of next week.
The car park will still be operational, but the council said there will be limited capacity for parking - however, the "red zone” of the car park which has the free parking bays will remain open.
The council said anyone with symptoms — however mild — or those concerned that they had been in contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive, should get tested.
Council leader Cllr Chris Read said RMBC was working closely with Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care to get the site up and running as quickly as possible, with the tent build expected to take up to three days.
He added: “Forge Island is close to public transport and has good pedestrian access.
“Our number one aim is to try to stop more people from becoming infected with this terrible disease.”
The council confirmed that the current building work at Forge Island would continue as planned.
Teresa Roche, Rotherham’s director of public health, said the borough’s Covid-19 hotspots had not yet been identified and the walk-in testing site was the latest response in tackling the spread of the virus.
“Over the past week, we have seen a tremendous community response from people coming forward to get tested at two mobile testing units,” added Ms Roche.
“This additional testing is part of our intelligence-led testing strategy, which is in place because Rotherham has community transmission of the virus.
“This means the infection is widespread and we can’t yet identify any places or communities where infections are raised.
“The data from testing will help us to find any pockets of concern so that we can be more targeted with our response.”
People will be able to go to the walk-in site between 8am and 8pm any day of the week for a test, and their results will be ready the following day.
Appointments will be preferred in order to manage social distancing and ensure there are enough tests kits available, the council said.
This testing site is in addition to the two mobile testing units which are drive-through and by appointment only.
Herringthorpe’s mobile testing unit will run until Sunday, while the testing point at the former bus depot on Midland Road, Masbrough, will remain open.
The council said it was continuing to work with PHE and the DHSC to highlight other possible locations around the borough for mobile testing units in the future. Home testing kits are also available.
Call 119 or visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus to book an appointment or order a home test.