What it’s like getting a rapid coronavirus test at Chesterfield’s new community testing centre
Another important tool in Chesterfield’s battle against coronavirus has launched.
A community testing station opened at Queen’s Park Sports Centre on Boythorpe Road on Wednesday.
Open from 9am to 7pm seven days a week, the centre uses lateral flow devices which deliver results in around 30 minutes.
The site is aimed at people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms and are still going out to work and mixing with colleagues or the public.
Experts say one in three people with Covid-19 do not have any symptoms – and community testing stations like the one in Chesterfield are designed to identify those with the virus and offer advice about financial support they may be entitled to if they need to self-isolate.
I went to the centre on Wednesday night – I was in and out in around 10 minutes.
The staff, who were friendly and helpful, took relevant details from me at the start and then I went for my test.
This involves self-swabbing your tonsils (or where they would have been) and inside one of your nostrils.
While the test might feel a little uncomfortable, it’s not painful and is very quick to do.
I received a text message around 30 minutes after I left the site to say my test result was negative.
Councillor Tricia Gilby, Chesterfield Borough Council’s leader, said: “Testing is vital to identifying cases and stopping the spread.
“It’s great that our residents can now access community testing and I want to encourage everyone to get tested regularly.
“The roll-out of community testing, coupled with the speedy vaccine delivery at sites across Chesterfield, is showing there is light at the end of the tunnel and that we will get through this difficult period.”
Derbyshire County Council’s website says nobody will be turned away from its community testing stations.
It adds: “You don't need to book, just turn up at a time convenient to you. But please only visit a centre if it’s in your local area.
“If your result is negative it means Covid-19 was not detected on the day.
“If you and your household do not have any symptoms of coronavirus you can continue to carry on your usual daily activities.
“We’d ask that you come back each week while your local centre is open to have another test.
“A negative test is not a guarantee and you should continue to follow prevention measures including regular hand washing, social distancing, and using face coverings in enclosed spaces.
“If your result is positive you and your household will need to begin isolating for 10 days immediately.
“You’ll be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.”
Those attending are asked not to bring bags or other items with them that they don’t consider to be essential but are asked to bring a fully-charged smartphone to register their test result. Parents or guardians are asked to accompany those aged 11 to 16.
Those who don’t have a smartphone will be asked to stay at the site until the result comes through.
Some people have questioned the effectiveness of lateral flow devices – but research by the University of Oxford described them as a ‘game changer’.