Second regional site boosts capacity for coronavirus testing across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

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The announcement that a second Regional Testing Centre is to be opened for people with Coronavirus symptoms has been warmly welcomed.

The drive through centre will open at Stafford Education and Enterprise Park, Beaconside, Government has announced.

Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, can book an appointment on the NHS website or by calling 119 to be tested for whether they currently have coronavirus.

The first Regional Testing Centre opened at Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium on Friday of last week. That site had previously been operated as a local satellite testing centre run by CCG staff who had volunteered to return to frontline work.

Heather Johnstone, Director of Nursing and Quality for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “It is excellent news that a second testing centre is being provided in our area following the start of operations at the bet365 stadium last week.

“Regional testing sites have a capacity to test 1,000 people per day – a huge increase on the 100 per day at local sites, which are also limited to testing health, care, local authority and emergency service workers.

“The Stafford site will offer considerably improved access for people in the south of Staffordshire and mean many more people can access testing closer to their homes.

“Beaconside was the site in the county which most closely matched the Government criteria for a regional testing centre.”

Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “It is great that Staffordshire will now have its own Regional Testing Centre to compliment the other testing options that are available.

"With the slow easing of restrictions it is important that people with symptoms not only self-isolate but book a test. This facility will allow more people to be tested quickly and if they test positive enable the people they have been in close contact with to be traced to help contain the spread of infection. We continue to work with government to ensure access to testing across the county.”

A local testing site is still being operated from Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium, and will remain for as long as there is sufficient demand.