People with symptoms of Covid-19 in Wolverhampton will be able to get a test even if they haven't been able to book one – boosting testing capacity in the city still further.

From tomorrow (Friday 16 October) the walk in test centre at Faulkland Street, just off the Ring Road in Wolverhampton city centre, will take up to 50 people per day as ‘walk ups’ without prior appointment as part of a pilot project. 

People who develop symptoms of Covid-19 should, as previously, immediately self isolate and try to book a test online by visiting NHS or by calling 119. However, if they cannot reserve a slot for any reason, they will be able to attend the Faulkland Street centre without prior appointment. Up to 50 tests per day will be available on a first come, first served basis.

The city's 4 other test centres – a drive through centre at Aldersley Leisure Village and walk through centres at Showell Road and Blakenhall Community Resource Centre in Wolverhampton and Mountford Lane in Bilston – remain appointment only.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Testing is key to getting a grip on this pandemic, and that's why we've been working hard to make it as easy as possible for people to get tested for Covid-19 if they need to be.

"We are pleased to have reached agreement with the Department of Health and Social Care to enable us to take walk ups at the Faulkland Street test centre from people who haven't already booked an appointment. This is part of a pilot project designed to further increase access to testing for local people and to ensure we are making the best use of capacity.

"If you've got symptoms you should still try and book your test online or over the phone as normal, but if you can't reserve a slot you will have the added reassurance that you will still be able to be tested at the Faulkland Street centre."

People can now get a test within 8 days of first developing symptoms of Covid-19, which include a fever, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of taste and smell.

Details of all of Wolverhampton’s test centres can be found at Coronavirus Testing. People are reminded that they should wear a face covering when attending walk through centres, only removing these while the test is taking place. 

The city’s Director of Public Health John Denley said: "Testing is incredibly important. Primarily, of course, it will enable you to find out whether you have got Covid-19 and to then take whatever steps may be necessary as a result.

"But it's also really important in helping us understand where we are as a city in the fight against coronavirus – for instance, what local infection rates are looking like and where in Wolverhampton the hotspots are – and help us better respond to outbreaks as and when they occur.

"Only by having a really good understanding of how Covid-19 is being transmitted in Wolverhampton will we be able to determine what measures are needed to help beat the virus. Without testing data we cannot do this."

Walk in testing at Faulkland Street, subject to availability, can be accessed by anyone, including students at the nearby University of Wolverhampton. Vice-Chancellor Professor Geoff Layer said: “The Faulkland Street testing centre is providing a vital service to our community, and we are pleased that our students and staff can benefit from this new walk in service. 

“Testing is an essential part of the fight against Covid-19 so we would encourage any students, staff or members of the local community to get tested if they are exhibiting symptoms, no matter how mild.”

Latest data shows there were 112.77 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 residents in Wolverhampton in the 7 days to 12 October, compared to 82.81 in the 7 days to 5 October.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. For details of the local Covid-19 measures which came into force this week, please visit Covid Alert.