Guardian gets Covid tested at Worksop centre for people with no symptoms

Rapid results Covid testing sites were launched earlier this month in Worksop - designed specifically to identify people carrying the virus but displaying no symptoms.

By Ben McVay
Monday, 22nd February 2021, 4:06 pm

The centres in Manton and Sandy Lane are targeting people aged 18-65 who cannot work from home and may be unknowingly transmitting Covid to colleagues.

Over the last few weeks Bassetlaw District Council has been contacting employers - from small shops to large manufacturers - encouraging workers to get tested.

On Thursday I attended Sandy Lane’s Crown Place Community Centre for the lateral flow test - which provides a result within 30 minutes.

The rod goes right to the back of your nostril - causing an odd, sharp little pain which is hard to endure

As someone who is lucky enough to be able to work from home - and indeed to still have a job at all - I rarely see anyone apart from the postman, the store assistants at my local Asda or my wife and kids.

However I was curious to find out whether I could be carrying the virus - as data shows up to one-in-three infected people show no symptoms.

If you don’t know anyone who has had the lateral flow test then I won’t lie to you - for my part I found it deeply unpleasant.

Staff at Crown Place - really cheerful and efficient - meet you as you enter, taking some brief details before you are presented to testing staff behind a glass-partitioned booth.

Worksop Guardian reporter Ben McVay takes the test

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You are then given a thin plastic rod with some absorbent material on one end and instructed to swab each tonsil - yes each tonsil - three times.

The effect of this - as I found out having never seriously attempted sticking my fingers down the back of my throat - is an instant gag reflex.

Thankfully the testing staff were quite helpful - watching and advising me as I fumbled around, spluttering and gagging away.

Lewis Briggs, manager at Crown Place testing centre

After that ordeal comes the next part - where you have to insert the same rod a good centimetre-and-a-half up a nostril several times while twisting it around to get a good sample.

To be clear, the rod is going right to the back of your nostril and this causes an odd, sharp little pain which is hard to endure - meaning several repeat attempts in my case.

After I had blundered around with the little plastic tool for what felt like an eternity the watchful staff eventually gave me to the nod to say I had done enough to provide a good reading.

Interestingly, a staff member told me they tested themselves every day and assured me that the process gets less painful with experience - saying it was quite “slick” when you know how.

Testing staff help direct people on how to conduct the swab

On the way out you are given a leaflet advising you what to do if your test comes back positive and a registration card - which you can use to book your next test from home.

I was relieved to be informed by text message less than half-an-hour later that my test had come back negative.

Hower Lewis Briggs, centre manager, told how an average of two people a day were testing positive - meaning 10 less asymptomatic Covid cases potentially spreading the disease in Worksop every week.

Lewis, 31, said: “This is vital for the local area - at the end of the day we all want to open up the country again.

“If people are aware they have the virus it will reduce transmission in the area.”

He described how workers were seeing familiar faces turning up several times a week - people going out to work keen to ensure they were not harbouring the nasty little virus.

Lewis said: “We’re seeing regular family members and work colleagues trying to keep family members and work colleagues safe.

“It’s going well. We’re just trying to let people know we’re here - whether by ringing local businesses and encouraging them, or flyering so everyone knows we’re open now.”

Crown Place is averaging 200 tests a week - with tests currently available until March 27.

However another centre is in operation at Manton Sports on Retford Road.

Opening hours at Manton Sports are Tuesdays to Fridays from 8am to 6pm and Saturdays 9am to 1pm.

Tests are available at Crown Place Community Centre on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8am to 6pm and Sundays from 9am to 1pm.

No appointment is necessary.

Both centres are the result of a partnership between Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottingham City Council, Bassetlaw District Council and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Councillor Simon Greaves, leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “We have worked with our partners in public health at the county council to bring community testing to the district.

"These community testing sites provide rapid tests and this is another tool in the fight to stop the spread and reduce infection rates.

“If you are working in a job where you can’t work from home and are still going into work then I’d encourage you to get tested.”

Jonathan Gribbin, director of public health for Nottinghamshire, added: “We know that around one in three people have the virus but do not have any symptoms - so they could be spreading the disease without knowing.

"Community testing is designed to identify those who have no symptoms but are positive, particularly people who are in jobs that don’t allow them to work from home.

"Testing will enable us to ensure that the necessary advice and support can be put in place so we can break the chain of transmission.

"While this testing is an additional tool we can use to help drive transmission down it is still vitally important that everyone in our communities continue to stay at home unless it’s essential to leave the house and to practice the hands, face, space rules whenever they do.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.