Fire stations are part of a recent initiative for the trial of new Covid-19 test sites in rural Scotland.
For those who are near the stations and have symptoms to obtain a test, the pilot, which takes place in Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute, and Thurso in the Highlands, will start on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
The change could help give people “more consistent” access to coronavirus testing, Health Minister Jeane Freeman said.
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Testing at fire stations will be available every day, Monday through Friday, through January 29, for three and a half hours.
People with symptoms can do it themselves at any place and make it available for pickup after calling NHS Highland to order a test.
Alternatively, they can pick up a test for someone else and drop it off for pickup by courier at the fire station.
Group Fire Station Thurso
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) also provides logistical support by ordering tests and storing the samples before they are retrieved by courier, in addition to supplying the fire stations.
“While there are currently a number of options for people to get tested in remote and rural areas, these options are not always convenient or on their doorstep,” Ms. Freeman said.
Through this trial, we hope to provide more reliable access to testing in these areas for people with Covid 19 symptoms and to see if this method can be implemented if effective in other remote and rural areas of Scotland.
Our advice remains the same – if you experience symptoms of Covid-19 (new continuous cough, fever or loss or change in the sense of smell or taste), you should immediately isolate yourself and book a test. In view of rising case rates, this is particularly important.
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“I am grateful to SFRS, Argyll and Bute Council, Highland Council and NHS Highland for the excellent partnership working that has made this test possible and for their continued support throughout the pandemic.”
Our fire stations in Thurso and Lochgilphead are ideally positioned to allow the distribution, collection and storage of test kits in one safe location, offering a service far closer to home for anyone unfortunate enough to suffer from Covid 19 symptoms, said Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens, Director of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
“Both stations will maintain the ability to respond to emergencies.”
“It is vital for everyone in Scotland to have access to consistent testing, especially in our rural and remote communities,” he added.
“We will continue to support the Scottish Government, our partners and communities wherever possible during this difficult time.”