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Badenoch and Strathespy's first dedicated Covid test centre opens tomorrow

By Gavin Musgrove

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Grantown is to get the strath's first dedicated Covid test centre sooner that expected.

The small scale test facility had been scheduled to open at the town's fire station in mid-March but will now be available from tomorrow, the Scottish Government has announced.

It is one of a further seven fire stations in the latest roll-out of easier to access testing centres in rural areas.

The Grantown service will be run in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and available for people who have Covid symptoms and are within walking or driving distance of the fire station.

Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “This expansion of our fire station testing programme will make it far easier for people in these areas to get tested.

"I am very grateful to the SFRS, Argyll and Bute Council, Highland Council, and NHS Highland for their support to make this possible, following the success of our initial trial.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring people with Covid symptoms can easily access a test no matter where they are in the country, and we will continue to work with the UK Government and local partners to improve access to Covid testing in remote and rural areas.”

It follows the opening of a pick-up only Covid-19 test centre in Kingussie a week ago – the first testing facility to be made available locally on a permanent basis.

Previously, mobile testing units had made visits to the town or people with Covid symptoms had to travel to Inverness.

The other fire stations in the North that will double as test centres from tomorrow are Dornoch, Acharacle (pick-up only), Tongue (pick-up only), Tarbert (Loch Fyne), Cove (Loch Long) and Arrochar (pick-up only)

Tests can be booked from today by calling NHS Highland on 01463 706015.

Earlier this month Ms Gougeon announced that access to coronavirus testing would be expanded to 21 fire stations in remote and rural areas of Scotland following the success of trials in Thurso and Lochgilphead.

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