URGENT calls have been made for mobile test centres to be opened in both Omagh and Castlederg as Covid-19 cases rise in west Tyrone.
These units, operated by the Public Health Agency (PHA), provide a temporary testing site that can be set up quickly in response to local demand.
At the monthly meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on Tuesday night, Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff proposed writing to both the Department of Health and PHA requesting that they locate a mobile testing unit in Omagh “without delay”.
He asked, “Why can a mobile testing unit not be moved to Omagh to provide additional testing capacity locally in an area where the rate of transmission is increasing daily and where there is currently a much higher rate than there was in March, April and May?”
His proposal, seconded by party colleague John Feely, received unanimous support in the council chamber.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin councillor for the Derg area, Kieran McGuire, has made a request for a mobile testing unit to be located in Castlederg.
Cllr McGuire explained, “I have formally requested, through Derry City and Strabane District Council, that a mobile Covid-19 testing unit be located in Castlederg following the development of a number of clusters in the area and to make testing more accessible for people in the town and massive rural hinterland.
“For example, the furthest point of Aghyaran is around 30 miles from the Strabane testing centre and near 40 miles from Enniskillen.
“Last Saturday, we had a case of one local family having to go to Belfast to get a test as it was the first available and they needed to get tested in a hurry.
“We have some mobile testing units being located in very close proximity to each other while areas like this, of equal need, have not, so I hope my request through Council to the Public Health Agency is accepted,” said Cllr Maguire.
The mobile testing centre in Strabane which has the capacity to complete 300 tests per day, has been booked out since opening the week before last.
Meanwhile, a mobile testing unit has been set up in Sion Mills at St Theresa’s Hall carpark.
The mobile testing units are open from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Anyone wishing to avail of a test must book online as there is a high demand for tests.
• The PHA website has further information on testing at www.pha.site/cvtesting