The Scottish Government has announced that more testing for coronavirus is available.
NHS Lothian has introduced ‘drive through’ testing which will allow anyone with symptoms and an appointment, to be tested while sitting in your car in some areas, or at your local health centre.
If you have mild symptoms then as long as you have an appointment you will be allowed to drive to a contained area at the Western General Hospital. This has been introduced as the NHS steps up its preparations for the possible spread of the virus. It will add to the existing community testing service which allows trained teams to test patients in their own home.
Dr Tracey Gillies, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said: “This service is for patients who have been assessed by the specialist team so it is an appointment-only service. It is not a drop-in clinic and it is important to stress that patients cannot be seen without an appointment.
“The drive-through facility and the community testing teams allow us to test patients without them coming into healthcare facilities.
“Patients will be referred on by their GP or NHS 24 if they are at risk of the virus and meet the clinical criteria. They will then be referred on to our teams, who will decide whether they need to be tested in their own homes or if they are well enough and can use their own transport to drive to the Western General Hospital.”
The patients will not have to speak to anyone else while driving to the testing area. There they will be met by professionals in protective clothing. Patients will be asked to wind down the window of their vehicle and a painless throat swab will be taken. Then patients will be given advice on self-isolation and asked to go home. Results should be available within 24 hours.
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
• high temperature or fever
• shortness of breath
Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: “Although all test results have come back negative so far, it is only a matter of time before there is a positive case in Scotland.
“Our priority is to ensure testing facilities are available across Scotland, so we have asked health boards to explore options for people in their area depending on their needs. Methods of testing will be different depending on factors like population and geography.
“Scotland is well-prepared to deal with coronavirus. We need the public to help contain spread by keeping themselves informed of the latest health and travel advice, and taking basic hygiene precautions such as hand-washing, not touching their face and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and binning the tissue straight away.”
The public has a vital role to play in helping to contain any positive cases by keeping themselves informed, and following basic hygiene precautions, such as hand-washing and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Advice to people returning from affected countries will depend on which regions they have visited, and will be updated as the situation changes.
Members of the public are being asked to stay up to date with the latest health and travel advice.
For anyone who is planning to travel abroad, guidance can be found on fitfortravel Where a COVID-19 risk is identified, country pages will be updated