Mobile coronavirus testing could be introduced in Wrexham as area’s cases remain highest in Wales

An example of a temporary test site for COVID-19 staffed by the army at the Gurnell Leisure Centre in Ealing. Picture by Andrew Davidson (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Liam Randall, local democracy reporter

Mobile coronavirus testing units could be introduced in Wrexham to learn more about how the virus is spreading.

The county borough still has the highest seven-day-average case rate of the virus in Wales at 673 per 100,000 of the population.

Despite the figure reducing over the last week, there is an appetite from public bodies to better understand the situation within local communities.

Cllr Hugh Jones, Wrexham Council’s lead member for public protection, said mobile testing was one of the options being looked at to gather more evidence.

He added that members of different households mixing together was believed to be the main cause for the high number of cases in the area.

He said: “Public Health Wales and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are looking at the possibility of a mobile testing station.

“That’s not definite yet, but they’re looking at that as a possibility and they’re looking at potential sites for that.

“Because we’ve got such an effective Test, Trace and Protect system, we’ve been able to identify a significant amount of infections taking place within the domestic setting within homes.

“Therefore, we’ve been consistent in trying to get the message out to people to say they should abide by the rules in terms of mixing within households, because that’s where the significant infection is taking place.

“We are at last seeing a reduction, but we are still significantly above where we need to be.”

‘Flattening’

There have previously been calls for mass testing to take place within a number of individual communities in Wrexham.

It includes Gwersyllt, where case numbers have consistently been high over the last month.
However, the council’s chief executive said the testing units were more likely to be placed in locations where less is known about the spread of the virus.

Ian Bancroft said: “In terms of testing, the point of putting in a mobile testing centre is in areas where you don’t know if the virus is spreading within the community.

“I think that’s really important that differential. Obviously there have been calls to put testing centres into areas where it’s already high.

“The point of testing centres is to actually go into areas where we know we’re not getting high cases, or there is high testing.”

He added: “We’re getting an indication from TTP that the figures will continue to decline so we do have a degree of confidence that for the moment that figures are flattening.

“However, we will remain highest in Wales so therefore everything the portfolio holder has said is absolutely appropriate in terms of that we have to be extremely tight now.”

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