Three new coronavirus pilot test centres are to open – with the first in Stoke-on-Trent – from Monday 14 September.
The pilot centre, which will be housed at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, has been put in place to respond to a continued increase in demand for coronavirus testing across the city. It also follows an appeal by Cllr Abi Brown, the Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council to the Right Honourable Matt Hancock MP and Secretary of State for Health after a number of residents had been in touch about their inability to get a test locally.
The centre will be open on Monday and Tuesday between 9am and 2.30pm – booking is by appointment only 48 hours in advance and will go live from 9.30am tomorrow (Saturday). Only 100 tests are available for each day so residents should not turn up without an appointment or they will be turned away. The pilot will then move to Burton on Wednesday and Thursday and to Stafford on Friday. If successful, more tests will be made available across both the city and county.
Appointments are only available for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire residents who are showing symptoms of coronavirus. Those who do get an appointment should follow Covid-19 guidelines when they visit including following social distancing advice, wearing a face covering and using hand sanitiser. Attendees are also being asked to bring proof of residency in Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire when they are being tested. This can include a photo driving licence, bank statement within a month, most recent council tax statement and a utility bill dated within three months and can be in hard copy or via a mobile device.
The centre will remain open to leisure centre users and there will be an alternative entrance for those who are due to be tested and a strict one-way system in place to ensure the building remains Covid-secure.
Before trying to book at the pilot centre, people should first try to get a testing appointment through the national system. Bookings can be made via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, or ringing 119, where help is available in other languages.
If not successful, booking for the local pilots is possible by 48 hours in advance on a rolling basis if you are showing coronavirus symptoms. People can book from Saturday morning at 9.30am on www.stoke.gov.uk for Fenton Manor bookings and on www.staffordshire.gov.uk for Burton and Stafford bookings.