A mobile COVID-19 testing unit is coming to Girvan next week where residents of South Ayrshire can find out if they have the virus.

It will be in place from Tuesday, January 12 and will remain until Wednesday, January 13.

Those with symptoms of coronavirus can book a test at the travelling COVID test facility, which will be located at the Quay Zone in Knockcushan Street, Girvan.

This temporary facility will allow people who have COVID-19 symptoms to get a free swab test as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities. 

It comes as increases of coronavirus have been recorded in the Girvan area, with the neighbourhood currently a hotspot for the virus in South Ayrshire with a seven day case rate per 100,000 population of more than 400.

Tests must be booked in advance at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or by calling 0800 028 2816.

The booking portal for the Girvan site will open from 6.00pm on Saturday, January 9.

Councillor Peter Henderson, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: "The opening of the temporary Mobile Test Unit in Girvan is welcome news as we continue our battle against coronavirus. 

"The new strain of the virus has undoubtably brought with it more worry and uncertainty, and it’s more important than ever that we all take the necessary steps to help suppress COVID-19.

"We need to break the chain of infection, and I would therefore encourage South Ayrshire residents who are experiencing symptoms of the virus to book a test."

Mobile test centres provide another way for people without access to cars to book appointments, and to improve accessibility to testing in the heart of communities who need it most.

Council officials have said that:

"If you're coming to be tested, you will be required to follow public health measures, including: physical distancing; not travelling by taxi or public transport; practising good personal hygiene; wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the mobile testing sites).

"You should only book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste).

"If you have any of these symptoms you must self-isolate immediately, only leaving home to take a test. You should continue to self-isolate until you have received your result.

"If you're attending the mobile testing centre, you'll be asked to confirm your identity on arrival.

"You will then be issued with a test kit and directed to a testing booth, where you will be given guidance to help you do the swab test yourself by taking swabs from both the nose and mouth. 

"The swab test takes less than a minute and is relatively pain-free. After safely completing the test, a testing assistant will advise you how to register your test online or by phone, and then how to exit the centre. You should receive your result the next day.

"If you test positive you will be contacted by NHS Scotland tracers. They will let you know how long you and your household should self-isolate for and help you identify who you have been in contact with, protecting others from further transmission. Your close contacts will also hear from contact tracers, asking them to stay at home for 10 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.

"Testing is free, quick and vital to stopping the spread of coronavirus. It's available for all ages and groups, including vulnerable groups and people with disabilities. 

"Anyone attending an appointment at a mobile testing centre will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the site safely, including the measures listed above. The approach has been agreed with expert clinical oversight."

They add that further sites across South Ayrshire are being considered for their suitability as mobile testing sites and say that any updates on these location will be given in due course.