Community coronavirus test centre opens in Buxton

A coronavirus testing centre in Buxton is now up and running and the message to the community is – come and use it.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 5:20 pm
Updated Friday, 19th February 2021, 9:48 am

Set up by Derbyshire County Council, the centre at the Pavilion Gardens, opened its doors on Wednesday and is available for anyone in the community who is asymptomatic (not showing any symptoms) with no need to book.

One in three people who have coronavirus do not have symptoms so the testing is particularly important for those who are still going out to work or mixing with the public.

And not only is the whole process at the Buxton site simple and fast, you get your results back usually within around half an hour too.

Buxton covid testing centre opens at the Pavilion Gardens. Louise Cooper from the Buxton Advertiser takes the test.

While the centre is in Buxton, it is also open to people from around the area who may be in town for work or other reasons.

Adrian Green, team leader at the centre, said: “If you’re in Buxton then just turn up and we won’t turn you away unless you have symptoms.

"If you’ve got a test centre nearer to you, then please go there, but if you’re in Buxton and want a test then come along.

Buxton covid testing centre opens at the Pavilion Gardens.

"Yesterday we did 150 tests on our first day and we hope the numbers will grow once word gets around that we’re here."

Anyone arriving at the centre is given a registration card. Using a smartphone they are asked to scan the QR code on the card which takes them to the Government testing website where need to fill in some details such as their date of birth, ethnicity and other identifying details.

Once that is complete, you move to the next stage, where your details are double checked, before being escorted to the bay area and asked to wait until a bay becomes free.

Once a tester is free, and the bay has been thoroughly cleaned after the person who was there before you, you are shown into the bay, and one of the testing staff talks you through the process.

Buxton covid testing centre opens at the Pavilion Gardens. Louise Cooper from the Buxton Advertiser takes the test.

The lateral flow tests simply involve taking a swab from your nose and the back of the throat, and takes just a matter of seconds.

Once that is done, the tester explains that you’ll receive your results within the next thirty minutes or so, and you’re then free to leave.

The whole process can be completed in around ten to fifteen minutes, and as promised, my result, thankfully negative, arrived within half an hour via a text message and an email.

But fear of technology doesn’t need to put anyone off using the centre, as Adrian explains.

Buxton covid testing centre opens at the Pavilion Gardens.

"We know that Buxton has a large elderly population and if any of them are concerned about using a smartphone then there’s no need to worry. We are here to help them, we will walk them through the whole process so they don’t have anything to worry about," he said.

As an asymptomatic centre, the site is open to anyone who does not have any symptoms of the virus, but who could be spreading the virus to other people without knowing they have it.

This is particularly important for people who are regularly mixing with others for work.

However, even those who are just at home can take a test.

“If people are sat at home worrying about it then they should come and get tested. It’s important for our mental wellbeing so if you want to get a test come and see us,” Adrian said.

Those working at the centre have all undergone intensive training and include some staff who have been redeployed from the leisure centre at the Pavilion Gardens, as well as Derbyshire County Council staff and people from other agencies.

Buxton covid testing centre opens at the Pavilion Gardens. Team leader Adrian Green

The Buxton centre is open from 9am to 7pm seven days a week.

You can visit as many times as you like and once registered, you get handed a card as you leave so you don’t need to resubmit all your details on your return visit.

You can also see how busy a centre is before visiting online at https://derbyshire.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/findatestcenter.html.

Those attending the site 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 smart phone if they have one. Parents or guardians are asked to accompany those aged 11 to 16.

The Buxton site is one of three new sites to be opened by the county council with others in Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire now up and running. A centre for Derbyshire Dales is due to be opened by the end of February.

Announcing the new centres, Derbyshire's Director of Public Health Dean Wallace said: "Although rates of those testing positive are coming down we need to do more to try and stop the chain of transmission.

“We know that many people are just not able to work from home so these new centres are aimed at those who have to go out to work and mix with colleagues and the public. It is this group of people who are at the most risk of getting the virus, and with one in 3 who do have the virus showing no symptoms they can easily pass it on to anyone they come in to contact with.

“Please if you are still going out to work come to your nearest centre weekly and get a test to protect your families, colleagues and community.

“It only takes a few minutes and will make such a difference. The quicker we can get on top of this virus the sooner our lives can start to return to normal.”