A SECOND mobile testing centre for Covid-19 opened in Tyrone last week, in response to an alarming rise in the numbers of cases in the south of the county.
On Friday, the testing centre opened at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown, less than a week after a similar facility opened in Strabane.
Over the last two weeks, Cookstown and Dungannon have seen a significant spike in coronavirus cases, which has forced the closure of some businesses and has affected schools and sports clubs in the area.
Figures released on Friday, showed the Mid Ulster area – which also includes parts of south Derry – had another 86 positive cases in the previous 24-hour period, more than four times the number of cases recorded in the neighbouring Fermanagh and Omagh council area.
Further statistics released yesterday (Sunday) showed, over the last week, there were a total of 266 cases, which is almost double the 147 figure from the previous week.
The Department of Health figures show Mid Ulster currently has 180.3 cases per 100,000 population, which is the fourth highest in the North.
Confirming the opening of the new test centre, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency said, “There is a mobile testing unit based at Mid Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown, which is operational from Friday, October 2.
“Mobile testing units operate across Northern Ireland and provide a temporary testing site that can be set up quickly in response to local need.”
On Sunday, another mobile testing centre opened in Magherafelt, which is also within the Mid Ulster District Council area.
Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy – who had earlier in the week voiced the need for the mobile unit – praised Mid Ulster District Council and the Public Health Agency for working together in establishing the facility.
“It is good co-operation and co-ordination that makes sense and will help in the fight against this ongoing pandemic,” he said.
“I want to reiterate my call for everyone across the constituency to follow the guidelines; wear a mask, wash your hands thoroughly and please ensure you keep social distance measures.”
The PHA have put forward guidance for those who suspect they may have contracted the virus.
They said, “You, or any member of your family, should only have a test if you have the symptoms of Covid-19, which are a new continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a change in your sense of taste or smell. Details of all test site location and how to book a test can be found on at www.pha.site/cvtesting.”