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Communities praised for playing key role in Covid fight

Three Swansea communities have been praised for helping the city fight the pandemic in a new way.

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Penclawdd, Townhill and Penyrheol all have mobile testing units (MTUs) that are giving coronavirus tests to hundreds of Swansea people.

They're being operated to robust controls by experienced contactor Mitie on behalf of the Swansea Bay University Health Board and the Welsh Government. Their staff are trained for this role and wear full protective equipment.

A test is taken safely and securely as the member of the public approaches.

The venues operate with doors opened so there's be no surface contact. Everything is cleaned at the end of each session - so there is no risk to the community or those using the centre afterwards.

Mark Thomas, the council's cabinet member for environment enhancement and infrastructure management, said: "I thank the communities that are home to the MTUs. They take up some space but they're there for the good of us all.

"These units are for the community - for local people, their friends and neighbours. They help keep infection contained and mean that those feeling unwell do not have to drive some distance to a more established testing centre.

"The MTUs are safe for the local communities, those who book appointments there and the staff who work there.

"The controls are strong and they work. To put things into perspective, there have been more than 30,000 tests at the Liberty Stadium testing centre - but there's been no infection in the workforce or stadium staff who are still in the building."

MTUs have been set up across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot by Swansea Bay University Health Board. They include units at Penclawdd Community Centre, Townhill Community Centre and Penyrheol Leisure Centre.

Townhill and Penclawdd are walk-in only; Penyrheol has a walk-in facility and a drive-through. There are marshals at the units to show people which entrance to use.

The MTUs are in addition to the facility at the Liberty Stadium.

Only those with an appointment will be seen at the MTUs.  You should only book a test if you have symptoms. They began operating on Wednesday (note: Sept 30) and, in the first two days, undertook more than 320 tests across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

The process is safe with no contact between the MTU staff and the individual being tested. A full risk assessment was completed for each site, with measures put in place to ensure that each site will be a clean and safe environment, both for those attending and those living in the vicinity.

Each MTU is set up and managed by a team of 10.

To book a test: Go to https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test. You will need a mobile phone number or email address.

FAQs

What good will this do? The aim is for MTUs around Swansea and Neath Port Talbot to provide 150 tests per day - 25 an hour. These units are for the community - for you, your friends and neighbours. They will help keep infection contained and mean that those feeling unwell do not have to drive some distance to a more established testing centre.

Where are the MTUs? In Swansea they're at Penclawdd Community Centre, Townhill Community Centre and Penyrheol Leisure Centre.

When do they operate?

  • Penclawdd Community Centre walk-in - Thu & Sun, MTU set-up 1.45pm, testing 2.15-5.15pm, MTU departs 5.45pm.
  • Townhill Community Centre walk-in - Mon & Fri, MTU set-up 9am, testing 9.30am-12.30pm, MTU departs 1pm.
  • Penyrheol Leisure Centre walk-in and drive-through - Thu & Sun, MTU set-up 9.15am (after school drop-off), testing 9.45am-12.45pm, MTU departs 1.15pm.

How do they operate? Townhill and Penclawdd are walk-in only; Penyrheol has a walk-in facility and a drive-through. There will be marshals at the units to show people which entrance to use. More information about the testing process - www.bit.ly/LocalTTP.

Who operates them? Respected and experienced contactor Mitie set up the units. Marshals direct individuals who've booked a test via https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test to either a test lane or marquee. Mitie have staff at each site with high levels of experience.

How safe are they? They're very safe. All doors open internally and there are one-way systems in operation. Only one person is allowed in at a time and there is a complete clean of the table between each test. With the doors open there's no surface contact and everything is cleaned at the end of each session - so there's no risk to the community or people using the centre afterwards. All Mitie staff have been trained and are in full PPE. If the member of the public doesn't have a booking they'll be sent away. The controls are robust and they work. To put things into perspective, there have been more than 30,000 tests at the Liberty Stadium testing centre - but there's been no infection in the workforce or stadium staff who are still in the building.

 

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