Hanley Town Football Club is to become the latest venue in Stoke-on-Trent to host COVID-19 rapid result testing for residents.

The community testing centre will begin on Saturday 30 January, at the club and will be open seven days a week, Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm and weekends 9am to 3pm.

Tests up to seven days in advance can be booked via Stoke-on-Trent city council’s website. There will be 11 lanes to get tested, each with the capacity to do up to 12 tests per hour. This means there will be 529 test slots each day Monday to Friday and 288 on a Saturday and Sunday.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “I am delighted that we have Hanley Town Football Club on board and will be delivering testing to the community in partnership with them. We know they have many fans and followers across the city and hope they will be able to help spread our message that everybody should be going to get a test weekly. We know 1 in 3 people with coronavirus don’t have any symptoms; we need to stop the spread.

“It is great to see our testing offer is rapidly increasing across the city, from our community venues to local businesses and partner organisations, we have increased testing dramatically since we first started lateral flow testing before Christmas.”

Chairman of Hanley Town Football Club, Ronald McIlreavy said: “I approached the council to offer the club as a community testing venue as our football club is at the heart of the community. It was warmly welcomed by the council and processes were quickly put in place so we could set the club up to offer testing. Fourteen members of staff have undertaken comprehensive training in order to carry out lateral flow testing onsite and we are all really excited for the test centre to open on Saturday and greet residents as they come for a test.

“We already have some small, local businesses who have said they will be using the testing centre every week to test their employers and I hope many others will follow suit. If we can play a part, however small in getting Stoke-on-Trent back to normal, we will have done our job.”

Other community testing centres have been further extended next week to later evenings and early morning time slots so everyone that is in a role where they have to go out and about during the lockdown can get tested at least once a week.

Latest figures show that the seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is 331.9 per 100,000 people, for the week 15 January to 22 January. This figure is down 17 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 11.5 per cent.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “Our mass testing rollout is continuing over the next few weeks. We will soon have a further 10 venues open for testing 8am to 8pm across the city and we have started to recruit COVID-19 test assistants to support at these further sites. The battle is not over yet, we have seen our case rate slowly come down over the past week, but the NHS is still under huge pressure.

“I remind all residents, whilst we are seeing fantastic numbers of people being vaccinated in the city, testing is still vitally important, even as the vaccination programme continues to progress. It’s really important to still follow all of the coronavirus guidance to control the virus – you must stay home to protect the NHS and save lives.”

For the latest information on council services and support during the coronavirus, and frequently asked questions, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus For latest health advice on the coronavirus, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, and for further information on the virus visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.

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