Today marks the end of the first week of non-symptomatic COVID-19 testing in Wirral. Our reporter went for a test at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton on a wet and windy Friday afternoon, to see just how quick and easy it was.
“I was greeting by a friendly young man at the start of the queuing system, who told me that the queuing time was about 15 minutes”, our reporter said. “Everyone who was queuing outside was wearing a mask and were all properly practicing social distancing. After about 10 minutes, I made it to the front door.
“In front of me, there were about 10 people who were all registering for the test, ably assisted by the numerous staff who were there to help out.” It was at this stage that our reporter found out that his smartphone wasn’t as smart as he thought as it wasn’t set up to scan the QR code on his registration card.
It was no problem, though, as a member of staff showed our reporter how to register without using the QR code. All you need is a few simple details: name, address, date of birth and phone number. You will receive your test result by text.
The registration card you are given has a number of bar-code stickers attached – these will be applied to your test swab to identify which swab relates to which person.
“After registering, I was shown through to the main room where the tests are conducted”, our reporter continued. “A staff member then described to me how to use the swab – what to do and what not to do.” The swab comes in a sealed packet that is easy to open. Our reporter said that the instructions seemed a little rushed, probably due to them repeating the same information all day, but he asked them to repeat it to make sure he hadn’t misunderstood anything.
After receiving the swab, each person is shown to their own individual cubicle, so they can swab their nose and throat in privacy. “I opened the swab packet, taking care not to touch the area used for sampling”, our reporter explained. “Then, I rolled the swab around the back of my mouth/top of my throat either side of my tonsils – this did tickle a little and made me cough, but to get a good sample on the swab, it needs to be done! Then you need to swab up one of your nostrils. Again, this tickles a little!”
The cubicles have a little window about a foot square and when you are finished swabbing, you hold the swab, along with the bar-codes through the window and a staff member collects them off you. “And that was that.” Our reporter said. “The whole process of queuing, registration, being shown how to swab yourself and the actual swabbing took about 25 minutes start to finish.”
The results of your swab test are texted to you the same day – our reporter got his results through by SMS about 45 minutes after leaving the test centre.
Jo Bird is the Labour Councillor for Bromborough and in this video she describes her experience at the testing centre in Eastham.
Testing is available at these testing facilities to anyone who lives or works in Wirral and does not have Covid-19 symptoms:
- The Floral Pavilion, New Brighton open 7 days a week 10am to 7pm (last test at 6:30pm)
- Greasby Library open 7 days a week 10am to 7pm (last test at 6:30pm)
- Eastham Library open 7 days a week 10am to 7pm (last test at 6:30pm)
- Birkenhead Market open 6 days Mon – Sat 9am to 5pm (last test at 4:30pm, closed Sundays)
If you can’t make it to one of the test centres, you can order a home test kit by calling 119. You will be sent a verification code by text or email. If you do not have a mobile phone or email, you can still order a home test kit by calling 119. You can nominate somebody else to receive the verification code on your behalf but they must be with you whilst you make the phone call to 119.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate and get a test at one of the special test centres for people with symptoms via www.wirral.gov.uk/test.
If you visit a symptom-free testing centre and test positive you must self-isolate. Guidance and support to do so is available online at www.wirral.gov.uk/covidpayment or by calling Wirral Council’s Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050.