Our Lady Immaculate and St Etheldreda parish in Newmarket has supported the wider health effort by making its church hall available as a Covid rapid testing centre.
Fr Christopher Smith, parish priest in Newmarket, writes: “The parish was approached early in the New Year by the NHS to see whether it would be possible to use the parish centre as a Covid testing centre. The finance committee readily gave their consent to this proposal. It was felt that as a Christian Community, we should in the name of the Common Good offer this facility for the people of Newmarket and the surrounding villages.
“The NHS set up the testing centre on February 8. The centre is open seven days a week, from 7am until 6pm and people can make an appointment online or simply turn up during quieter periods. On average 80 to 100 people use the centre each day.”
The centre is for people who are asymptomatic. As around one in three people who contract Covid display no symptoms, the government is encouraging people to get tested regularly.
The tests take a swab from the nose and throat, and the process takes around 15 minutes. The person tested will then receive a text message giving the result within an hour.
This is the fifth of such rapid testing centres to open in Suffolk, as the government seeks to control the spread of the disease. Appointments can be booked online or by ringing 0333 772 6144.
Anyone who is showing symptoms, or who may have been in close contact with someone who has, should not visit the centre. Instead, they should ring 119 or go to the NHS website to book a test at a symptomatic testing centre.
Pictured above is the parish hall at Newmarket. Image: Roger Cornfoot