A TESTING site has been opened in Oldbury to help people confirm whether they have coronavirus amid concerns of a rise in cases in Sandwell.

A drive-through and walk-through mobile testing unit opened on July 25, on part of a large car park off Dudley Road that has been split into two halves.

It can only be accessed from the A457 Dudley Road.

A walk-through coronavirus testing facility was also opened at the St Paul’s Road car park in Smethwick on Friday July 31 as news emerged that Sandwell had been named an area of concern by Public Health England.

The sites have opened as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities to help health professionals to track people with Covid-19 and trace their close contacts to help prevent the further spread of infection.

A further testing site is due to open shortly in West Bromwich.

All tests must be pre-booked as soon as symptoms develop by calling 119. People are urged not to turn up without first booking a test.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute - with results expected the next day. Additional support will be available for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “It’s absolutely vital people book a test immediately if they notice coronavirus symptoms. It’s quick and easy to get a test."

Sandwell has reported 1,895 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began in March and the borough has an infection rate of 577 per 100,000 people. The rate in neighbouring Dudley, where there have been 1,341 confirmed cases, is 417 per 100.000 people.

People are urged to practise good personal hygiene and wear face coverings throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre) to help prevent the spread of the virus which has been linked to the deaths of 369 people in Sandwell and 311 in Dudley, according to latest figures from the ONS.

Anyone attending an appointment will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely. People are urged not to travel by taxi or public transport if experiencing coronavirus symptoms such as a high temperature, a new and continuous cough and a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

People showing symptoms of Covid-19 must self-isolate at home for 10 days and only go out to have a test.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace service, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.

Members of the public who want to use the Dudley Road/West Bromwich Street car park in Oldbury can still access the car park by the West Bromwich Street entrance only.

The entrance/exit on A457 Dudley Road will be temporarily closed other than for access to the testing centre.