As part of the county’s community testing strategy, thePoint4 Leisure Centre, run by The Royal National College for the Blind, is currently home to two separate Covid-19 test centres – Herefordshire Council’s rapid lateral flow testing and the Wye Valley NHS Trust’s pre-operative Covid-19 testing. Both of the centres support testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 infection.

The Hereford rapid lateral flow test centre opened its doors in January and test centre staff have carried out an average of 100 tests per day at the Venns Lane site. The team at thePoint4 is made up from a bank of staff mainly from Herefordshire Council but some thePoint4 staff have also trained up to join the team whilst the Leisure Centre is closed for its usual business. Everyone is trained in all areas of the process, from registration to test processing and from cleaning to logging results.

Initially set up to test key workers such as Herefordshire Council staff, police and the fire and rescue service, testing is now open to members of the public, over the age of 18, who require regular testing for their work. Even more people in Herefordshire will be eligible for rapid testing after Step Two of the Government’s Roadmap on 12 April.

Students from the Royal National College for the Blind are also tested twice weekly, following the students’ return to campus earlier this month. Nurses from the ‘Pre-Op’ team support the rapid testing team and help with assisting students who may have difficulties with swabbing.

Lateral flow tests at thePoint4 (and the Council’s other rapid test sites) can be booked via Herefordshire Council’s website here: Test results will be sent via text or email within 30-40 minutes of the test.

ThePoint4 centre is open from 08:00 to 14:00on Mondays and Thursdays, from 14:30 to 18:30 on Tuesdays and Fridays and 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays.

The Wye Valley NHS Trust’s pre-operative covid-19 testing is also based at thePoint4 site and, as the name suggests, is for those people who are going into hospital for surgery.

It’s a drive-through service and people who undertake the test at this site are usually referred by their consultant and are booked in three days prior to surgery.

Depending on the national response, the rapid test centre is likely to be operating at thePoint4 until the end of August.

Chris Combe, thePoint4 Manager, said:

‘We’re really happy to support the operation for as long as possible. It’s not only important for our staff and students but for residents in our local area and the wider community. The rapid test team, with support from the Wye Valley NHS Trust team who can perform assisted swabbing, have plenty of experience in supporting people with disability, including the visually impaired, and we would encourage testing at thePoint4’s fully accessible site, which also has the benefit of free parking.’