Asymptomatic testing now in two local areas

Anyone living or working in Hawick or West Linton can now book a test for Covid-19, even if they are not showing symptoms of the virus.

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 4:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 4:25 pm
The mobile testing unit at Teviotdale Leisure Centre, now open for bookings seven days a week. Photo: Bill McBurnie.

Up to now, people had to either show symptoms or be contacted by Test and Trace to book a spot, but health bosses have made this latest move in order to detect cases early and prevent the virus spreading.

Testing is now available seven days a week from the mobile testing unit located in the Teviotdale Leisure Centre car park.

A spokesperson for NHS Borders said: “In light of the emergence of a new strain of Covid, which is much more contagious, the community testing programme is being offered to all local authorities throughout Scotland.

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“This will enable health boards and local authorities to reduce Covid prevalence by identifying asymptomatic cases and supporting people to isolate as required.

“Locally Hawick has been chosen as for the community testing programme due to its population of 15,000, which is relatively high for the region.

“The Hawick area was also one of the first areas where the new variant strain of Covid presented within the Borders and has a relatively high rate of infection compared to other part of the Borders.

“Importantly, Hawick has a long history of partnership working to improve health and wellbeing and a reduction in health inequalities.

“These tried and tested networks will be essential for the success of the community testing programme.”

Appointments must be booked in advance. Next day appointments are available for booking from 6pm daily.

West Linton has also been chosen to roll-out the tests for all, after an increase in cases there.

Testing is available at the Graham Institute over the next fortnight on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Dr Tim Patterson, director of public health, said: “Evidence suggests that up to a third of people who have Covid-19 do not have any symptoms.

“Extending the testing facility in Hawick to test people without symptoms will enable us to detect more cases of the virus and help prevent the spread.

“It is a quick process and I encourage anyone living in the Hawick area to make an appointment even if they currently feel well as some people can have Covid-19 without displaying any of the common symptoms.”

On West Linton, Dr Paterson said: “We have seen an increase in the number of positive cases in West Linton and surrounding areas over the last few weeks and there is evidence of Covid-19 spreading within these local communities.”

Appointments must be booked in advance. Next day appointments are available for booking from 6pm daily.

Appointments can be made via the gov.uk website or by calling 0300 303 2713.

Residents do not have to be displaying symptoms of COVID-19 to make an appointment (they should select the option ‘My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms’ when booking a test).

Appointments will only be released each evening for the following morning and in the morning for appointments that afternoon.

Once appointments are fully booked the testing centre will not appear online as a venue option or be available for call handlers to book; however new appointments are released each morning and evening so if there is no availability please check online or call back later.

People are asked not to attend the test centre without booking an appointment in advance, and anyone attending should also wear a face mask or covering and observe the rules on physical distancing by staying at least two metres apart.