The pilot, to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 to see if they have the virus or not, helped to prepare for the roll out of mass testing in Wolverhampton which is now underway at the Civic Centre.
Mass testing seeks to identify cases of coronavirus among people who, because they feel fine, don't realise they have Covid-19 – and so could unwittingly pass it on to friends, loved ones and work colleagues. Instead, anyone found to be infected with the virus can self isolate and, in doing so, help reduce the spread of the virus to others.
Approximately 3,000 asymptomatic individuals were tested at the gurdwara, with around 5% proving positive for Covid-19. Those individuals were subsequently able to self isolate, preventing further transmission of the virus.
The pilot, led by the local community and supported by the City of Wolverhampton Council and the Department for Health and Social Care, was hailed as best practice by the Government and proved so successful that it was extended for a week.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “This pilot was about how we can use the latest testing technology to break the chain of transmission and reduce the spread of coronavirus, and about how the process could be led by the local community.
“It has proved really successful. Around 3,000 residents came forward for a test, and we were able to identify around 150 positive cases among people who didn’t realise they had Covid-19, so we’ve been able to prevent them spreading it to others.
“It has also helped increase testing among the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community, who studies have found are disproportionately at risk from Covid-19.
“The lessons learned from this pilot have helped inform the mass testing programme which is now underway at the Civic Centre, and I’d urge people who don’t have symptoms of Covid-19 to come down and get a test so that we can continue to reduce the spread of the virus.”
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 came 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".
Mass testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 is available at the Civic Centre from 8am to 7pm weekdays and 10am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. No appointment is necessary.
Please note, only people without Covid-19 symptoms should attend the Civic Centre. 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 240.38 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 6 December. That means 632 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.