Mobile community Covid testing centres offering results within an hour are set to visit Honiton, Exmouth, and Axminster after a successful trial in Exeter.
A new unit was tried out at Devon and Cornwall Police’s Middlemoor HQ on Friday, February 19.
It has been bought by the county council and, from this week, is hitting the road offering rapid testing to the public in areas with the highest rates of coronavirus.
More mobile facilities are ‘expected to come online soon’, says the authority.
They will be available in Honiton, Exmouth, Axminster, Okehampton, Tavistock and Ivybridge ‘in the coming weeks’.
Devon County Council (DCC) says mobile testing centres will be a ‘vital part’ of its efforts to offer rapid testing.
It will target anyone who leaves their home to work or volunteer, and who may come into contact with others.
A DCC spokesperson said: “Around one in three people who have coronavirus do not show any symptoms and may unwittingly be spreading the infection.
“Regular rapid testing identifies those non-symptomatic carriers of the virus – and anyone regularly in contact with others is encouraged to take these quick tests twice a week to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
“And if they do test positive, they are required to self-isolate immediately to prevent them from transmitting it to others.”
Devon’s director of public health Steve Brown said: “These new mobile test centres will help us to offer more rapid Covid-19 tests in more locations to those who need it.
“The tests are quick, painless and easy to book with results back within an hour via text or email.
“By being regularly tested it could prevent you unintentionally passing the virus to others.
“But please remember, while a positive test will require you to self-isolate at home, a negative test does not remove the need to continue following national guidance around social distancing, wearing a face covering, and washing your hands properly and regularly. These simple steps are still vital in preventing the transmission of the virus.”
The mobile centre trialled at Devon and Cornwall Police’s Exeter HQ saw specially-trained members of the constabulary test Middlemoor-based officers and civilian staff.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Parker said:
“We welcome the co-operation of Devon County Council in providing this testing service to our officers and staff.
“Working closely and collaboratively with our partners has been a critical part of the multi-agency response to the pandemic throughout the last year.
“The support will enable at least some of our staff to have a test and allow them to be reassured if they are negative for Covid-19, but also take immediate, preventative action if they test positive.
“We continue to explore any avenue which could help protect our staff from exposure to Covid-19 and in turn enable us to continue to provide frontline service delivery to the communities of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”
More information on community testing in Devon is available here.