Community Testing Units set up to help support Novel Coronavirus diagnosis

Three Community Testing Units (CTUs) have been set up in North Wales to support the response to tackling Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19).

The drive-through units will help Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board meet demand for testing over the coming weeks.

Only patients who have completed an initial assessment through the all-Wales 111 telephone service and who have an appointment will be tested at the units. Members of the public who visit the units without having had an assessment through 111 will not be tested. The units are not operating a walk-in service and will not provide testing without a prior appointment.

Anybody who is worried that they have symptoms of coronavirus should check the online NHS Direct symptom checker at www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk before contacting the NHS by dialling 111. They should not visit any healthcare setting, including hospitals or GP practices.

The CTUs are located at Rossett Clinic, Wrexham; Bryn y Neuadd Hospital in Llanfairfechan; and Ysbyty Alltwen in Porthmadog.

Following an initial assessment by NHS Direct Wales or 111 and Public Health Wales, patients who meet the case definition of having potentially been infected, and who are well enough and able to drive, will be asked to attend the Unit for a COVID-19 test. This is a simple throat and nasal swab.

The drive-up unit, which helps keep potential patients isolated in their vehicle, supports testing in people’s homes, which has to date been used across North Wales and will continue to be available for people unable to drive or travel to the drive-through units.

There is no additional risk to people living in the immediate vicinity of these units. A range of precautions and infection prevention measures have been considered and put in place, including strict clinical protocols and the use of Personal Protective Equipment, to keep staff, patients and people living and working nearby safe.

Dr David Fearnley, Executive Medical Director for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “Our Community Testing Units are not drop-in centres. Testing will only be available for people who have been referred there following a diagnosis through the NHS Wales 111 service.

“Anybody with symptoms of coronavirus should contact the NHS by dialling 111 before visiting any healthcare setting, including hospitals or GP practices.

“Once an assessment through the 111 service has taken place, patients will be given advice about whether they should attend one of the centres, or arrangements will be made for a home testing team to visit their home. We would like to thank our staff for their hard work and commitment to protecting the health of our communities during what is an evolving situation.”

Up-to-date information on Coronavirus is available on the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales websites.