People showing symptoms of Covid-19 in Swansea are to have access to a seven-days-a-week walk-in Local Testing Site (LTS).
It will be based at the city centre’s Grand Theatre and will soon be open 8am-8pm every day.
This is in addition to mobile testing units already rolled out across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot and drive-through testing facilities at the Liberty Stadium and Margam.
The Grand LTS will offer pre-booked walk-in appointments. Appointments must be made via the Welsh Government website https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test.
Anyone booking a test will need a mobile phone number or email address as they will receive a secure code to confirm their booking via text or email, and this must be shown when attending the appointment.
The unit opens tomorrow (note: Friday 9 October) although there will be limited capacity tomorrow and over this first weekend as the site gets up and running. It will be fully operational from Monday.
Wales’ Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething said: “As university students return to cities and towns across Wales we want to ensure robust testing is in place for both students and residents in the local area.
“It’s important that anyone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus get tested to ensure we stop the spread of the virus. I hope the Local Testing Sites will provide reassurance to those returning or starting universities. This new site in Swanseawill play a key role in our NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme.”
Dr Keith Reid, Executive Director for Public Health for the Swansea Bay area, said: “Anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 must take immediate action to self-isolate at home and get a test.
“Our testing facilities, including this new LTS at the Grand Theatre, mean that more tests are available for local people in Swansea and that they can get a test close to home. The LTS will obviously be convenient for students from our universities should they develop symptoms and need a test.
“Please only book a test if you have symptoms. If you do not have symptoms, please leave available slots for those who need them.”
The theatre, which currently has no performances due to the pandemic, is managed by Swansea Council. During lockdown it has been used to support current and future creative use and community involvement.
The LTS will have a separate entrance and exit at the back of the building, and a one-way system. There will be no impact on the theatre’s staff, funders, tenants, theatre groups and volunteers.
Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “I thank those who work and visit the Grand Theatre for their understanding. Our city centre LTS will take up some space although this won’t be in the building’s publicly accessible areas – and it’s there for the good of us all.”
Mark Thomas, the council’s cabinet member for environment enhancement and infrastructure management, said: “This unit is for our community. It will help keep infection contained and mean that those feeling unwell do not have to drive some distance to a more established testing centre.
“The unit is safe for the local community, those who book appointments there, the staff who work there and theatre visitors. The controls are strong and they work.”
The main symptoms of Covid-19 are a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; and/or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
A full risk assessment has been completed for the theatre, with measures in place to ensure that it will be a clean and safe environment, both for those attending and those living in, working in and visiting the vicinity.
The LTS will be operated by fully trained staff from experienced contactor Mitie.