Fife’s first asymptomatic community testing site is set to open in Cowdenbeath on Wednesday, 10th February.
Based at the town’s Maxwell Centre, the site will provide testing for members of the public who have no symptoms associated with COVID-19 but who could be infectious and spreading the virus without knowing it.
The Cowdenbeath site is just one of five pop up sites which NHS Fife and Fife Council are rolling out in different areas across Fife in the coming weeks, along with additional mobile testing units.
Funded by Scottish Government, the community testing programme in Fife will take a targeted approach, focussing on communities where there is a testing need or sustained transmission, using the most up-to-date data.
Josie Murray, NHS Fife Consultant in Public Health and Health Protection Clinical Lead, said: “We know that almost 1 in 3 people with COVID don’t have symptoms but are still infectious and able to pass the virus on to loved ones, friends and the wider community.
“By getting tested at a community testing site, you can find out if you are positive and take immediate action to stop the spread of the virus by self-isolating.
“Not only are we helping to protect our family, friends and community, if we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and continue to follow the other national measures that are in place, we are that one step closer to getting back to doing the things we are unable to do just now.”
Testing at the Cowdenbeath site is available to anyone without COVID symptoms who lives in the Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly and Lumphinnans area and members of the public will be able to access testing on a drop-in basis without the need for an appointment.
The centre will open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday initially. These times may change according to demand.
People attending the centre will be asked to take a Lateral Flow test. These quick and easy tests can be processed on-site with rapid results available.
Anyone who tests negative doesn’t have to take any action and should continue to follow all national guidance. People should not change their behaviour because they have tested negative.
Where a test is positive, people will be asked to take a confirmatory PCR test and self-isolate as a precaution until the result is known. If this test is also positive individuals and their households will have to self-isolate in line with national guidance.
Dedicated confidential support will be available onsite, providing advice on accessing different financial support alongside practical measures, such as, food packages for those who need to self-isolate.
Nigel Kerr, Fife Council Head of Protective Services, said: “We know that self-isolating can be really difficult for some people - physically, mentally but, more often than not, financially.
“We understand that being asked to self-isolate at short notice can present you with a lot of problems. Not everyone may be lucky enough to have family, friends or good neighbours nearby who can help with things like getting groceries or picking up prescriptions. Some people are only a week’s wages away from absolute poverty and can’t afford not to work.
"We don’t want these things to be a barrier to people getting tested. We are here to help support you if you need to self-isolate.”
Members of the public should take their mobile phone to the centre if they have one so that they can receive results. Alternative arrangements will be made for those who do not have a phone.
Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “Increased 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 the virus 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.”
People should only attend the community testing site if they do not have any Covid-19 symptoms. Do not attend if you:
- have COVID-19 symptoms
- are currently self-isolating because you have been identified as a close contact
- have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days
All testing sites will be open on a time limited basis. There will be flexibility as to how long sites remain open based on the latest data and testing uptake.
Further information and updates on the Fife Community Testing programme is available at www.nhsfife.org/communitytesting
Issued: 05 February 2021