Community testing set to begin in East Ayrshire

Rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing will be available from Friday 26 February for people without symptoms in East Ayrshire.

The community testing initiative, in partnership with the Scottish Government; NHS Scotland; The Army and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, aims to drive down local COVID-19 rates and transmission by identifying positive cases more quickly, as people can spread the virus to others before symptoms appear.

Any residents who live in East Ayrshire who don’t have any of the three COVID symptoms (a new continuous cough, temperature, loss or change in sense of taste or smell) are encouraged to get tested.

There is no need to book, and testing will be available for a two week period, seven days a week, from Friday 26 February 2021 at:

Hurlford Community Centre, Cessnock Road, Hurlford KA1 5DD, 10am-6pm

This site is only for people without symptoms. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should book a test in the usual way via https://www.nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or by calling 0800 028 2816.

Lateral flow devices (LFD) will be used at the centre which can give people their results in around 45 minutes. Any positive cases will then be confirmed by PCR test. Those who receive a positive LFD or PCR test result will be asked to self-isolate.

Dedicated support is available to East Ayrshire residents who need to self-isolate, including access to food and financial support. Anyone who needs assistance should visit https://eastayrshi.re/covidsupport or call 01563 554400.

Further advice and information on what support is available for people who need to self-isolate is available from nhsinform.scot.

This is the start of a longer term strategy of community testing, and the Council is currently finalising plans to have rapid testing centres in other areas of East Ayrshire.

Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “Targeted testing in this way will help us find and isolate more cases, by targeting resources with communities where there is high prevalence, helping us to identify more cases of the virus and giving us all a better chance of stopping it from spreading.

“However, a test only tells us if we are positive at the point in time that we are being tested. It does not mean that we can stop following all of the rules and guidelines which are in place to protect all of us. Testing is only one layer of protection against this virus – all others, including vaccination and the FACTS guidance work to greatest effect when they work together, so it is essential people continue to follow the restrictions currently in place to suppress COVID to the lowest possible level in Scotland.

“This expansion has been made possible as our testing capacity has increased but it could not have happened without the support of our local partners, and everyone involved in Scotland’s testing programme, from diagnostic staff to sample takers, and I want to pay tribute to each and every one of you as we continue to work to suppress this virus together.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “We really hope that people will recognise the benefits of getting tested to reduce the spread of the virus to their family, friends and community, particularly as we are still under lockdown, and as we continue through the difficult winter months. There are so many of us who could be carrying the virus without even realising it.

“The more people who get tested, the sooner we can get back to doing the things we love and miss. Anyone who takes the test will be helping to stop the silent spread of this virus, break the chain of infection and save lives.”

University of the West of Scotland has been helping to set up the asymptomatic test centres across Ayrshire including providing access for training to the UWS Ayr Campus test centre, and producing the information materials and displays for the centres. Dr Lucy Meredith, Provost & Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UWS, said: “We are delighted to support NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the Ayrshire councils in their Covid-19 testing activities. At UWS, we are committed to supporting our local communities and wider society. It is more important now than ever for us to work together with our partner organisations as we collectively try to overcome the pandemic.”

More information and FAQs are available at https://eastayrshi.re/rapidtesting