New local test centre to open in Plymouth city centre

Getting a test for COVID-19 is being made easier for many Plymouth residents with the opening of a new local test centre in the city centre.

Plymouth City Council has helped secure the extra coronavirus testing capacity for Plymouth by providing the lower ground floor of the Guildhall for the centre, which is being sponsored by the DHSC and operated by Serco.

The centre will operate in addition to the regional test centre at the former Seaton Barracks site. It has been selected as it is easier for many people to get to without using a car. Anyone going for a test will be asked to walk or cycle to and from the site and not use public transport or taxis.

Testing is available only for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. The new centre will be provided as an option when booking a test, subject to availability.

A number of tests at the new site are due to made available from Tuesday 13 October and the site is due to be fully operational between 8am and 8pm each day from Thursday 15 October.

Those being tested will be told to wash their hands before leaving home, wear a face covering on their journey to and from the centre and to not stop anywhere on the way. 

Anyone testing positive for the virus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms. However, they should not book a test if they don’t have symptoms.

Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of the City Council and chair of the Plymouth Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “The City Council has been pressing for more testing capacity in Plymouth and has supported the opening of this extra facility by providing a suitable city centre location.

“Testing is a key part of the drive to stop the virus spreading. If everyone with symptoms self-isolates and gets a test this will go a long way towards helping keep Plymouth safe and support not just the NHS but also businesses in our city who need our help in enabling them to stay open.”

Ruth Harrell, Director of Public Health for Plymouth, said: “With cases of coronavirus currently rising it is important that anyone who has symptoms self-isolates and arranges a test. This new local test site will provide a welcome increase in testing capacity for Plymouth and make it easier for many people to access a test.

“We are urging people to only book a test if they have symptoms or are asked to do so by a public health professional, as this will help ensure that tests are available for those who really need them.”