School bus boosts Stockport’s coronavirus testing
Stockport’s coronavirus asymptomatic testing capability has been boosted thanks to the donation of a yellow school bus from Transport for Greater Manchester.
The school bus is being used by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council as a mobile testing site, providing rapid lateral flow testing for organisations, businesses and the public across the borough.
Lateral flow testing is fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19, but who may still be spreading the virus. The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes. Those who test positive must immediately self-isolate to avoid passing the virus on to others and book a confirmatory PCR test.
When operating at full capacity the bus can provide 192 tests a day, providing reassurance and identifying asymptomatic carriers. Each positive case identified can help prevent many additional people becoming infected.
Jennifer Connolly, Director of Public Health for Stockport, said: “Lateral flow testing gives rapid results and is one of the tools to help us stop the spread of the virus. One in three people who have COVID don’t get symptoms. By diagnosing them and asking them to self-isolate we can stem the transmission and keep our friends, loved ones and community safe.”
If someone has any of the symptoms of coronavirus: a new, continuous cough; a high temperature or loss of taste and smell, or has received a positive lateral flow test they need to get a PCR test and self-isolate until you get the result. Tests can be booked here.
Initially, the bus was used mainly by businesses to test their employees but following the government offer of universal testing to all adults any member of the public can now be tested.
Isaac Winton-Hayes, Human Resources Support Officer at DSG Group which have been using the mobile testing bus, said: “We take very seriously our responsibilities to contribute to the early detection of Covid-19 cases. Looking after our people includes looking after their communities. Stockport Council's mobile Covid testing support has allowed us to do both. Hosting the bus in our car park has allowed easy access for our colleagues and also our neighbours. Lateral flow testing for Covid is integral to our Covid security onsite - providing an additional layer of protection alongside our standard measures of rigid social distancing and hygiene. The support from the Stockport Council team has made the entire process easy and effective.”
Transport for Greater Manchester has donated yellow school buses that have reached the end of their working life to a variety of school, community and volunteer organisations. This enables them to continue to contribute to local communities and to reduce waste. TfGM will be donating more yellow school buses for good causes across Greater Manchester in the future.
Stephen Rhodes, TfGM’s Customer Director, said: “I am delighted to see one of our yellow school buses being repurposed for such a critical role. Community testing remains central to our fight against Covid-19 and this next mobile testing facility will mean more people can be tested quickly and conveniently. This bus is just one way TfGM has been working over the past year to support residents, communities and businesses across Stockport and Greater Manchester.”
To find out how to get regular, rapid tests for yourself, your business or your family please see Stockport Council's website here.