Covid drive-through testing centre opens in town car park

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A drive-through coronavirus testing centre has taken over part of a car park in a Norfolk town.

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A mobile Covid testing site has been introduced in Dereham by the Department of Health and Social Care, which will offer around 400 appointments two days a week.

The site, which is located at the back of the 446-space Cherry Tree car park just off Theatre Street officially opened at the end of March, Breckland Council has confirmed.

The test centre is open every Tuesday and Wednesday for drive through tests booked on the government's coronavirus testing website,  for people in a car, van or motorbike.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed they had a regular mobile testing unit placed in the car park, which has been in place for a couple of weeks.

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Before the test centre was opened, residents in Dereham would have had to drive to Norwich or Wymondham to get a drive-through test or wait for a swab test in the post.

Now residents will be able to book an appointment and get a test within an hour, space permitting.

A spokesperson from Norfolk County Council said: "If you have any coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate at home straight away and get a test. People you live with in your household must also isolate with you at home. 

"You need to get the test done in the first eight days of displaying any one of the symptoms. It works best if you get it done in three days. So do not wait."

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

It comes as the government announced everyone is to be given access to a free and rapid coronavirus test twice a week from next Friday.

But Norfolk County Council has confirmed the Dereham test centre will only be offering PCR tests and not rapid lateral flow.

Rapid testing has so far been available to those most at risk and people who need to leave home for work, including frontline NHS workers.

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The wider rollout aims to help identify and control new coronavirus variants, and comes as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased across the UK.


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