Salford City Stadium. Image Credit: Anthony Parkes
It took only 24 hours for the centre to be set up over the Easter weekend, with the hub operating a drive-through testing system at the AJ Bell Stadium in Eccles, home of Salford Red Devils and Sale Sharks.
The centre will be able to perform 120 appointment-only tests a day for now, and it will take 72 hours to receive any results.
Working in conjunction with the Greater Manchester testing centre that was established at Manchester Airport almost two weeks ago, the Salford hub has been set up to reduce travel in the region for those that require testing.
Staff will use swab samples to carry out tests, with Salford Royal Foundation Trust staff and health and social care staff, who are within the first five days of displaying symptoms of the deadly coronavirus, being tested first.
And first priority will also apply to any front line health workers who are self-isolating because of sick family members, or their relatives who may be showing Covid-19 symptoms.
As the hub is drive-through only, Taxis Transfers, whose passenger cabins are closed off from the driver, will be assisting with travel arrangements for those that require it.
NHS England released figures today that showed a further 52 people have died in Greater Manchester in 24 hours, with the overall death count at 644.
As of today, the amount of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Salford was at 368, with nearby areas like Trafford at 388 and Wigan at 330.
And Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, who at one point had the highest death toll for trusts in Greater Manchester, now have 97 coronavirus deaths, the third highest in the region’s trusts.
Therefore, the test centre was set up as soon as possible to try and keep essential staff, who do not test positive for the virus, in work and to slow down the spread between the health and care key workers who are risking their lives.
Salford COVID-19 test centre has now been launched. Teams of NHS and council workers gave up their Easter weekend to get the facility up and running. Read all about it here – https://t.co/RjgYNGMxPa @SalfordCouncil @SPCTogetherCIC @SalfordRoyalNHS @GM_HSC @PHE_uk @NHSEngland pic.twitter.com/cybUiocl1d
— NHS Salford CCG (@SalfordCCG) April 15, 2020
With Easter usually a time for celebration for many, groups of the National Health Service (NHS) and town hall workers sacrificed their weekend to ensure the testing hub was operating as soon as possible.
The Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, said: “I am really proud of the efforts made by a team of NHS and council employees.
“They gave up their Easter break to set the testing centre up and support the NHS and our care sector and are now managing traffic flow.
“The testing site at the AJ Bell was developed following the success of the Salford Royal Foundation Trust testing site the week before.
“This is truly a team effort. Staff from Salford Primary Care Together are providing the swabbing, while teams from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust do the testing.”
Results are provided by Salford City Council’s public health protection team and Corporate Nursing colleagues at Salford Royal Foundation Trust who advise those tested what their results mean for them.
“Working together in this way demonstrates the true Spirit of Salford and the strength of our partnership.”
Dr Pete Turkington, Salford Royal Chief Officer and Medical Director, said: “We are really pleased to be helping to safely return health and social care professionals back into their roles.
“Whether this is in a hospital, community service, GP practice, care home or one of the many other settings, we want to support people to get back to doing what they want to do – caring for their patients and service users.”
And with many questioning the safety of our key workers, Steve Dixon, Chief Accountable Officer for Salford CCG, said: “Our priority for this local testing facility is to help end the uncertainty of whether our NHS and social care staff need to stay at home or whether they can return to work and return to what they do best; protecting patients and saving lives.
“The immense effort that has gone into mobilising this staff testing facility and turning it into a reality cannot be underestimated and we know having this facility in Salford is going to be crucial in our fight against COVID-19.”.
To find out more information on the coronavirus testing centre at the AJ Bell, more details are available on the Salford City Council’s website.