A new community team has been established in Lanarkshire to test people – at home – who have been identified as being at risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The dedicated team of nurses and healthcare clinical support workers are visiting people in their homes to collect samples for testing, making it easy for them to follow health advice rather than coming into contact with others in the likes of GP practices or hospitals.
The new approach will help quickly test any possible cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), keep staff safe and minimise the risk of infection.
In line with established infection control measures, the team will wear protective clothing while undertaking community testing.
NHS Lanarkshire is also establishing a fixed community testing facility at Law House in Carluke – where patients will attend and ‘drive through’ in their cars after receiving an appointment from their GP or NHS 24.
Gabe Docherty, NHS Lanarkshire’s director of public health, said the new approach was a sensible step that would benefit staff, local people and communities alike. He added: “We want to reassure our colleagues, people and communities there are no known cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Lanarkshire area at this time.
“The introduction of community testing is all about following the advice in relation to staying at home, minimising contact with others and limiting the potential spread of the virus. By doing this, we can better manage any possible cases – of course, not everyone tested will have the virus – while minimising the risk of infection, so it benefits everyone all round.
“I appreciate it may be daunting for neighbours and family members to see our staff in their neighbourhood in protective clothing, but there really is no need to be concerned. This is simply a precautionary measure that is in line with standard infection control procedures and we very much appreciate the support and co-operation of our communities.”
Anyone who has visited an affected area – visit www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus for an up-to-date list – and has a fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of returning is advised to phone their GP or NHS 24 on 111 immediately. They should not go to their GP practice or other healthcare setting in person.
Gabe concluded: “It’s crucial that people follow the most up-to-date healthcare advice, which can be found on the NHS Informwebsite. We’ve also created a dedicated section on the NHS Lanarkshire website, with links to lots of official information and advice, and are sharing information through our social media channels.
“By working together, following healthcare advice and putting our new community testing in place, we can all play our part in doing what we can to protect ourselves from coronavirus (COVID-19).”
For further information, visit www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/coronavirus.