A new Covid-19 testing facility for key workers has opened in Aberdeen today.
In support of the Granite City’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, it will offer lateral flow tests at Aberdeen University’s Butchart Centre.
Testing for students at the University Road site will continue in parallel with eligible key workers who will be able to book a test at their convenience.
It is estimated that one in three people with coronavirus do not display symptoms and may spread the virus without realising it.
It comes as NHS Grampian recorded 36 cases of Covid-19 since Saturday, taking the region’s total to 13,292.
There are 32 patients in hospitals in the north-east and Moray – down one from the previous day – and five in intensive care.
Community testing can provide additional protection for the families, friends and co-workers of key workers, who may be at increased risk of infection.
Jillian Evans, NHS Grampian’s head of health intelligence, said: “Community testing is voluntary but we hope that providing easy access to tests for key workers without symptoms, will encourage people to come forward.
“This will help us identify cases that would otherwise be missed and, whilst it will increase the number of positive cases reported in Aberdeen, is an important expansion of our testing programme that will help us understand and suppress the virus.”
Tests are self-administered by taking a swab sample from the back of the throat and nose. The process takes minutes and results will be sent by the NHS via text or email normally within 90 minutes.
Anyone testing positive with a lateral flow test will be asked to have their result confirmed using a PCR test so that they can self-isolate where necessary to help stop the spread.
Debbie Dyker, director of people at Aberdeen University, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the city’s response to managing the pandemic.
“Our testing centre has supported the testing of our students to enable them to travel home safely to family prior to Christmas, and also supported those students that have been required to return to University this term in a safe manner.
“By getting tested not just once but regularly, key workers will be doing what they can to keep our community safe.”
The Aberdeen University facility is the only one in the city and will soon be joined by further sites in Aberdeenshire and Moray as part of Grampian’s participation in a trial announcement by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman earlier this month.