From today (May 10) visitors to Merry Hill will be able to pick up free coronavirus home testing kits while they shop.
Dudley Council is working in partnership with the centre on this initiative and will have staff handing out kits from today until Friday (May 15) from 9am to 5pm in the amphitheatre outside Marks and Spencer on the Lower Mall.
This is part of a national drive to encourage everyone to have twice weekly rapid symptom-free tests to track undetected cases of the virus and prevent its spread.
Kits are also available to collect from multiple venues, including participating pharmacies and other locations across the borough.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member elect for health and adult social care, said:
“Thanks to Merry Hill for getting on board with this drive to encourage everyone in the borough to get twice weekly symptom free tests.
“As restrictions are starting to ease and we’re able to do more, it’s so important that regular testing becomes a part of our weekly routines. It remains, along with having the vaccine, one of the key actions we can all take to control and reduce the number of positive cases.”
Kay Starkey, Customer Services Manager at Merry Hill, said:
“We’re proud to be supporting Dudley Council to distribute lateral flow tests to our visitors and colleagues at the centre this week.
“The health and wellbeing of our local community is incredibly important to us and by supporting the distribution of these tests, we hope to assist the overall efforts in helping the local community to get access to this vital service.”
People can also visit a rapid symptom free testing centre if they prefer at Saltwells Education Centre or numerous pharmacies and faith settings across the borough.
From next week (May 17 onwards) Saltwells Education Centre will no longer offer tests on Sundays, but they will still be available Monday to Saturday.
The symptom free test is a painless, quick and easy throat and nose swab and results are available in 30 minutes.
Residents who have had the vaccine should also take twice weekly rapid symptom-free tests. All residents should make sure they upload their results to help further monitor cases in the borough.
People who have had Covid within the last 90 days do not need to use rapid symptom-free tests until 90 days after having the virus, as it could return a positive result. This group should restart the testing process once the 90-day period has elapsed.
All secondary school aged children are expected to test regularly at home. Anyone who tests positive after taking a symptom free test must self-isolate immediately and book in for a standard PCR test.
Those who test negative but go on to develop symptoms should book a standard PCR test at one of the borough’s four testing sites.