A community led Covid-19 testing pilot has proved so successful that it is to be extended until next week.

Please note, this pilot has now ended. Do not attend the gurdwara for a Covid-19 test.

The pilot, taking place at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, Sedgley Street, checks whether people without symptoms of Covid-19 have the virus or not. 

By Monday evening, a total of 2,433 asymptomatic individuals were tested, with around 5% testing positive for Covid-19. Those individuals have subsequently been able to self isolate, preventing them from inadvertently passing the virus onto other people – including friends, loved ones and work colleagues.

The pilot, led by the local community and supported by the City of Wolverhampton Council and the Department for Health and Social Care, has been hailed as best practice by the Government. It was due to end on Monday but has now been extended into next week. 

People aged 18 and over without symptoms of Covid-19 are invited to attend the pilot for a test between 10am and 6.30pm until Tuesday (8 December). The test uses lateral flow equipment, which can deliver results in under an hour.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "This pilot is all about how we can use the latest testing technology to break the chain of transmission, and in turn reduce the spread of coronavirus.

"Asymptomatic testing enables us to find cases of Covid-19 among people who haven't shown symptoms of the virus, but might still have it. This means they could be spreading Covid-19 to other people without realising it.

"Hundreds of people have taken part in the pilot, and we have identified a number of positive cases which means we have been able to prevent Covid-19 spreading to other people, which is clearly a brilliant result.

“As well as helping us to reduce the prevalence of the virus, the lessons learned from this pilot will also inform the roll out of rapid testing technology in the coming days and, ultimately, help us all get back to normal more quickly.”

The pilot has also helped to increase testing among the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community, who studies have found are disproportionately at risk of getting infected and dying from Covid-19. Just over half of those who have been tested as part of the pilot so far are BAME individuals.

Faith groups including local leaders from the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, Sedgley Street, the Catholic Church, Church of England, Oasis of Love International Church and local Muslim faith leaders have come together to support the pilot, with one volunteer saying: "the asymptomatic testing centre had brought the community together and enabled people to support the fight against Covid-19".

Please note, only people without Covid-19 symptoms should take part in this pilot. Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 – a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to their sense of taste or smell – must self isolate and book a test at one of the regular Covid-19 test centres in Wolverhampton via GOV.UK or by calling 119 as normal.

Latest data shows there were 248.71 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 28 November. That means 654 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.