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From Monday June 29, residents on Arran will be able to be tested for COVID-19 on the island and no longer need to travel to the mainland.
The move is an important step in the future containment of the virus.
The new testing centre, which has been created at Brodick Health Centre, had a soft opening this week and staff are ready to receive appointments for a swab test, the results of which will be known in 24 to 48 hours.
Test and Protect is seen an important tool as the country eases out of lockdown, but on Arran a unique solution has been found using local knowledge and existing health staff. This is a slightly different approach from the mainland and anyone eligible for a test should call 01770 601033.
However, as we went to press, there continues to be no new positive cases of coronavirus on the island.
Ruth Betley, senior manager of Arran services in North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: ‘The testing centre is now open and we have been busy getting ready to carry out tests for all those on Arran who are eligible for a test.
‘This has been a huge piece of work and I would like to say a huge thank you to the project team involved in setting the testing centre up. They have all worked tirelessly to get this important service in place for those who need it.’
To be eligible for a test, you must be over the age of five years old and have any of the following symptoms: a new continuous cough; a fever/ temperature of 37.8ºC or above; or a new loss of sense of smell or taste.
Tests should be taken in the first five days after symptoms first appear. If you develop symptoms that could be COVID-19, it is vital that you self-isolate and request a test.
Self-isolating is what the Scottish Government is asking people to do if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19; if they have tested positive for the virus; or if someone in their household is experiencing symptoms or has tested positive.
Those with symptoms must self-isolate for at least seven days. Household contacts of someone with symptoms or someone who has tested positive must self-isolate for 14 days, and longer if they themselves go on to develop symptoms.
Self-isolating means not leaving home at all, and, if you live with others, taking extra precautions within the household to try to avoid spreading the virus between household members.
If you need a test and meet the eligibility criteria, you should telephone the referrals phone number on 01770 601033. Lines will be open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Ruth added: ‘The test for COVID-19 is a swab from your mouth and nose. This will either be done by a healthcare professional, or as a self-test. For a self-test, a member of the testing team will explain what to do, and will supervise you doing it.
‘Testing is strictly by appointment only. It is important that you arrive on time for your test once appointed – please don’t turn up too early or late. Also, it is vital that you and your household contacts strictly self-isolate while awaiting for your test and the results.’
Results are usually within 24 to 48 hours of the test. If you have tested positive, you will receive a phone call from the NHS Results Hub informing of the positive result. You will have to self-isolate for at least seven days, or until you are feeling well and have been free of any fever for at least 48 hours.
If you have tested negative, you will receive a phone call from the Results Hub informing of the negative result. After a negative result you can continue as normal, but should continue social distancing and take normal precautions. However, if you develop symptoms in line with COVID-19, you should self-isolate for at least seven days or until feeling well and without a fever for at least 48 hours.
If you are unwell and need to speak to a doctor, telephone Arran Medical Group on 01770 600516 or call NHS24 on 111 out-of-hours.
Further information and advice about COVID-19 can be found at www.nhsinform.scot or by calling 0800 028 2816.