Falkirk Covid testing team urge public to come forward

The local Covid testing team.The local Covid testing team.
The local Covid testing team.
One in three people who have Covid won’t show any symtoms at all – and that’s why it’s vital to test regularly, say the staff who are here to show you how.

“One person who has Covid will potentially infect 40 others – and if they all then infect 40 others, that’s where you get the spread happening,” explained Lynsey Gow, who manages the team across three test centres in Falkirk.

Before Covid, Lynsey was an events organiser with Falkirk Community Trust, but after being put on furlough she stepped in to help open the area’s first asymptomatic test centre – at that time in Polmont Sports Centre.

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Lynsey and her colleagues – a team of 15, most of whom came from Falkirk Community Trust – are keen to get the message out that they are here to help.

The local Covid testing team hard at work.The local Covid testing team hard at work.
The local Covid testing team hard at work.

And whether that’s by providing tests for you to do at home or sitting with you and taking you through the procedure step by step, is entirely up to you.

“A lot of people still don’t know they should be getting tested twice a week – and what we hear all the time is people saying ‘I’ve had both my jags!’” said Lynsey.

But having had the vaccine doesn’t stop you from getting Covid.

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And while all the evidence shows that the virus will be milder after the vaccine, it can still be nasty.

If you don’t have symptoms, you can just pop in – there’s no need to book.

“And, if it turns out you are one of the positive tests that we come across, you can stay indoors and stop infecting another 40 people,” said Lynsey.

Where should I go for a test if I don’t have symptoms?

There is a test centre in the car park of Falkirk Stadium, close to Helix Park; one in the Howgate shopping centre; and one recently opened in Falkirk Community Hospital.

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These all have LFD (Lateral Flow Device) tests which are only for people who do not have symptoms.

How often should I get tested?

“The advice is twice a week but I think you need to have a bit of common sense,” said Lynsey.

“If you are going out and about and mixing with a lot of people every day then you probably want to test more often, to be honest.

“But if you hardly leave your house and don’t interact much with others then why would you?”

Will you help people with the test?

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“It’s all self-swabbing so we don’t actually do the test but we will talk you through it,” said Lynsey.

“The technology is improving all the time, so now you no longer need to put the swab into your throat, which is the bit most people really don’t like.

“We do have some ‘repeat customers’ – we find that some elderly people in particular just want reassurance that they have done it correctly.”

The team stay carefully behind a screen and once a test is done the area is throughout disinfected.

What if I don’t want help?

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“Most people just pop by and pick up a few tests that they can do at home and take enough to keep them going for a week or so,” said Lynsey.

“We are here to help but if you don’t need it that’s absolutely fine.

How quickly will I get results?

“The results will be sent by either text or email within an hour,” says Lynsey.

“But if someone doesn’t have a mobile or access to email, they usually just wait.

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“The kits we use now are a lot quicker than they used to be – it used to take about half an hour but it’s about 15 minutes now.

“And they are NHS approved so they are ideal if you need to get a test to get into one of the big sporting events or concerts that requires proof of a negative test for entry.”

What if I have a cough?

Even if you don’t think you have Covid, a cough is one of the symptoms so you should arrange a PCR test – in Falkirk, that will usually be Abbotsford House in Bainsford.

If you have any of the three symptoms – a high temperature, a continuous, new cough, or a change in taste or smell – you should book a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test.

Can I trust the results?

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“The new kits are very accurate,” says Lynsey. “They have about 80-85 per cent accuracy.”

“It’s also important to register the result online once you have taken a test.

“That gives them data that is really useful in tracking spikes and case numbers.”

What if I can’t get to a centre?

There are many other places to pick up home test kits, including pharmacies.

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Also, look out for the team at upcoming events and don’t be shy about speaking to them – they are more than happy to give help and advice.