Blackburn Rovers are continuing to offer SMART Covid-19 tests at Ewood Park for people who have to leave their home for work during lockdown.
Operated by trained and friendly Blackburn Rovers Community Trust staff, local residents can visit the community hub testing centre at the Bryan Douglas Darwen End on every weekday between the hours of 8am-3pm, with no appointments necessary.
The rapid tests, which provide results within 30 minutes, are for people who are NOT displaying any Coronavirus symptoms, with the aim of breaking the cycle of transmission by identifying asymptomatic people, thereby reducing the infection rate in the local area and, ultimately, saving lives.
The lateral flow tests are primarily aimed at key workers and local business people who, following the recent Government announcement, have been told to start getting tested regularly – at least once a week – in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Rovers CEO Steve Waggott said: "Over the last few months, the club have been working closely with the Council and the Director of Public Health and offered Ewood as an easily accessible site, within an iconic local landmark, to assist with their community testing programme.
"We feel we have to continue to be a beacon of hope in these dark days, so we are delighted to have been chosen to assist with this important initiative."
Gary Robinson, CEO of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, added: "With the support of the club, the Trust is delighted to be working with the Council to facilitate and operate the Borough’s SMART Covid testing facility, using the ground floor of the Darwen End as a safe environment for the drop-in centre.
"We'd like to attract local people to take two tests a week for as long as the facility is open, to help map and control the virus, whilst we wait for the vaccination programme to be rolled out.
"It is a real honour for the Trust to be chosen and counted upon in these difficult times. We believe this comes as a result of our quality, standing and outreach in the local community, who we are proud to support and protect."
A second walk-in venue has also been set up at King George’s Hall in Blackburn town centre, which is open from 10am to 5.30pm.
Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "I'm delighted to see Ewood Park opening as a large community SMART testing hub in the Borough. Along with our site at King George's Hall, these hubs mean we can test more people regularly and quickly.
"The message is now if you have to leave your home to work during the lockdown then please start to test regularly to stop the spread of Covid. Along with the rollout of the vaccination programme, this should hopefully mark another turning point in our battle with the virus. One in three people with coronavirus do not have any symptoms and so can pass on the virus without knowing it, so I'd encourage people to utilise these hubs, get tested and help us break the chain of transmission."
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