MOBILE coronavirus testing units are being put into action in Powys this week, with Newtown, Llandrindod Wells and Llansantffraid among the first areas visited.

The appointment-only facilities are available for symptomatic critical workers who have been referred through their organisation’s occupational health department, and also to provide expanded testing for care home residents and staff in line with the Welsh national testing strategy.

People visiting the stations will be given a swab that they will need to perform on themselves, before handing the test back to the team to be checked for coronavirus.

Carol Shillabeer, Chief Executive of Powys Teaching Health Board said: “These mobile units help us to bring testing closer to home in Powys.

"They work alongside the testing already available for hospital patients and care homes, as well as the testing units for critical workers that are already in place in Welshpool and Bronllys.

“The first mobile unit will be operational in Newtown this week, and then from next week we have locations identified in Llandrindod Wells, Ystradgynlais and Llansantffraid.

“As these are mobile units, they can quickly be deployed to where they are needed, and will be able to reach out to all parts of the county.

Testing in Wales is available based on the criteria set out in the Welsh Government’s national plan for coronavirus testing, which states the following:

• People admitted to hospital with certain symptoms – evidence of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome or flu-like illness and one of the following symptoms: a persistent cough hoarseness, nasal discharge or congestion, shortness of breath, sore throat, wheezing, sneezing – should be tested.

• Critical workers will be offered a test if they, or a member of their immediate family, have symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature (38C or above), a persistent cough or shortness of breath. One symptomatic household member of a critical worker can also be testing so that if the test is negative the critical worker is able to return to work.

Critical workers currently eligible for testing are able to request a test through their employer.

• Targeted testing for care homes in line with Welsh Government policy.

Carol Shillabeer added: "Delivering COVID-19 testing in a rural area like Powys depends on strong partnerships between the health board, local authority, armed forces and other partners.

“These mobile testing units add to the arrangements already in place and will make testing available for even more critical workers with symptoms of coronavirus. Right now, this includes health and care workers, police and fire services, but it will soon be expanded to other sectors in accordance with the national testing strategy.

“They also provide an important part of the support programme in place for care home residents and staff in the county.”

Critical workers with symptoms should contact their employer in the first instance to request a test.