The UK Government’s plan for eight new Covid-19 testing centres for Edinburgh.

Below is a briefing from the Council on the UK Government’s plan for eight new Covid-19 testing centres for Edinburgh. This will include a centre in my Ward – either Oxgangs Library or Pentland Community Centre. I have also suggested that a church in Fairmilehead and/or Colintion as testing centres.

Introduction
At present, there are three Covid-19 testing centres in Council-owned buildings (Gate 55, Usher Hall and Leith Library). There is a licence agreement in place between the Council and the UK Government for each. 

We have been approached by the Scottish Government on behalf of the UK Government to provide a further eight Local Testing Sites (LTS) in Edinburgh. The attached map shows both the existing centres and the locations where the new sites are required. This expansion aims to:

  • close the gap between the number of people being tested and the estimated number of daily new cases in the mid- to long-term;
  • focus on areas of higher deprivation and low car ownership to increase access to testing; and,
  • maximise the amount of people with symptoms who get tested, by making testing easy to access (and then support these individuals to self-isolate, contact trace their contacts, and break chains of transmission).

These centres are for testing people with symptoms of Covid-19 rather than for asymptomatic community testing, which will be covered separately.

LTS can either be provided within existing buildings or as units on hardstanding areas on outdoor space. There are specific basic criteria for each option that proposed sites need to fulfil, e.g. disability access, separate access/egress etc

Progress so far
Officers provided an initial list of potential options to the Scottish Government for consideration and the first three areas are in the process of being finalised. The options are:

AreaOptions
GrantonOutdoor LTS within the car park for Ainslie Park Leisure CentreSite at Waterfront Avenue
Niddrie/CraigmillarOutdoor LTS within the car park for Jack Kane Leisure Centre
RestalrigPiershill Library
Moredun (TBC)Moredun Library orGilmerton Community Centre
Clermiston (TBC)Drumbrae Hub orRannoch Community Centre
Oxgangs (TBC)Oxgangs Library or Pentland Community Centre
Saughton (TBC)Carrickvale Community Centre orLongstone Resource Centre
Newington (TBC)Newington Library orCameron House Community Centre

The graphic above shows these locations on a map of Edinburgh.

The UK Government would like to have all eight centres operational by April. They have the capacity to mobilise three centres per week.

Once the preferred option for an area is identified, timescales are likely to move fast. A site visit to finalise the layout for the LTS will be followed quickly by a licence agreement and handover of the building.

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