Posted: Mon 27th Jul 2020

Easy-access testing for people in communities on the edge of Wrexham town centre to start this week

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Community testing is to be rolled out in parts of Wrexham, with people encouraged to go along to the new mobile testing areas even if they have very minor symptoms of Coronavirus.

The mobile testing units are being introduced this week to ‘make it easier’ for people living in communities on the edge of Wrexham town centre to get the test.

The “easy-access” testing facilities will be based in Hightown and Caia Park for several days starting from Wednesday. As well as making it easier to get a test, the move will help public health experts get a better understanding of the situation in Wrexham. Residents living in these areas are being encouraged to get a test if they think they have symptoms no matter how mild.

The work is being co-ordinated by Public Health Wales, Wrexham Council and other partners, with support from local voluntary sector organisation AVOW and community groups. Just like in other parts of the UK, and as we have seen locally at the Rowan Foods outbreak, the testing stations will be managed by the army.

Dr Chris Williams of Public Health Wales says:

“Providing easy-access testing will help us further understand the situation in Wrexham.
We’re encouraging anyone who thinks they may have symptoms – even very mild ones – to take advantage of the mobile testing units while they’re in the area, and go and get a test.

Testing is a really important part of the strategy for managing Covid-19 in Wales, so it’s important people step forward if they think they have symptoms.

Covid-19 can spread in community settings, not just in workplaces.

If you do test positive, you’ll be given advice by contact tracers at Wrexham Council.

They’ll advise you on how long to isolate for and what support you can get to help you through the isolation period. They’ll also ask for your help in tracing people you’ve been in close contact with recently.”

We understand that cross border working between Public Health Wales and Public Health England has meant that similar patterns to Wrexham have been seen elsewhere in the UK, and it is thought that this type of ‘rapid response’ will help identify and tackle any local spread of the virus. Although no clear demographic has been identified aside from a mention of some elements of younger people, the identified issues are wider from people directly connected to the Rowan Foods factory, described as people who just happen to live in particular parts of Wrexham and in the community at large rather than a specific group.

Recent local work has taken place to map out the cases in a very local level, with information on if they were tested in the community or hospital, and it has been decided last Wednesday that more access to testing in the community would be made.

There has been concern that people are not accessing testing for a range of reasons. Some may feel they do not have serious enough symptoms to require a test, others may not be able to physically get to a testing centre, or afford to be off work if the test is positive. All are being encouraged to take a test now, and signposting for support to do just that also being put in place by Wrexham Council.

The new process has been explained to Wrexham.com as trying to lower the barriers for testing, with it thought that for every one confirmed case there could be other unknown cases out there, and this should help identify those and then allow the Track Trace Protect system to kick in. That in turn should mean the contacts of those known to be positive can then self-isolate and limit any spread further, benefiting the community as a whole.

The extra community testing has come with a warning that it will possibly uncover more cases, and therefore the local figures could rise. This echos a message from the Health Board earlier this afternoon where they said similar about in-hospital testing probably meaning more confirmed cases. It was explained to us that this is in a way an exercise to identify unknowns and getting ahead of a potential problem, that if current testing is getting all the cases then current figures will not alter too much. However, if it uncovers unknown cases then things could look worse before it gets better – however that is a better situation for Wrexham rather than waiting for general community figures to increase.

We have asked if Wrexham Council are aware of figures from the Health Board and Public Health Wales, and have been assured there is ‘very much’ a partnership working process in place, ‘working really effectively’. The public are still being referred to the daily updated Public Health Wales dashboard here for ongoing data information.

Councillor Hugh Jones, Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, says:

“We’re working with our partners to provide easy-access testing in edge-of-town communities in Wrexham. As well as making it easier for people to get a test, it will also help Public Health Wales gain further insight into the local situation.

The mobile testing units will be based in Hightown and Caia Park over the next few days, and you can go to either testing station if you live in and around these areas. The process is quick and easy. However, if you feel really unwell, you should still contact your GP as normal (or call 999 if you think there’s something seriously wrong).

For example, don’t try to walk to a testing centre if you’re struggling to catch your breath.

A lot of people might be worried about getting a test in case it means they have to isolate and can’t go to work. Councillor Hugh Jones added:
“People need to pay bills and put food on the table, and it’s understandable that many will worry about testing positive and having to miss work.
“However, a lot of people may be able to get financial support ( https://gov.wales/financial-support-for-individuals) and the council and its partners will help people access this information.”

Cllr Jones ended by saying, “Public Health Wales, the council and our partners are here to support you. Let’s help keep Wrexham, our families and communities safe and well.”

Where and when you can get a test
The mobile testing centres will be at Caia Park Health Centre on Prince Charles Road, and at a location in Hightown yet to be finalised, from Wednesday, July 29.

The council will confirm the location in Hightown as soon as possible.

You can just turn-up between 8am and 7pm. It’s safe, simple and easy.

Other ways to get a test
You can also apply for a test online or by phone. (https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test )

Take a look at the Welsh Government website for more info – https://gov.wales/coronavirus



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