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Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
18 December 2020
Last updated:

Our testing infrastructure is continuing to evolve and develop to support mass testing of symptomatic people across the Welsh population.  

In our testing strategy published in the summer we set out the requirement to have enough testing capacity to enable all those with symptoms who need a test to access one ideally on the same day.

We have in partnership with the UK Government planned an expansion in the range and reach of our national testing infrastructure. This includes establishing 27 Local Testing Sites (LTSs) in addition to the:

  • Regional Testing Sites (RTSs) – 8 across Wales in Newport, Ebbw Vale, Cardiff, Abercynon, Swansea, Carmarthen, Llandudno and Deeside.
  • Community Testing Units (CTUs) – 19 across Wales in a variety of settings.
  • Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) – 18 units across Wales with some deployed across LHBs and others deployed for rapid response.
  • Home Testing Kits (HTKs) – including access to a dedicated portal for care homes.

The LTSs provide walk through testing sites for our communities and increase access for our most disadvantaged and underrepresented communities. The expansion of LTSs will involve 15 walk through local test sites situated in key areas across Wales opened before Christmas with 12 more planned for launch over the coming months as we continue finalising plans with local health boards and local authorities. We are also introducing a further 9 MTUs, in addition to the 19 units already operational, to ensure that each local health board has one mobile unit that can be operated in each local authority area.

The LTSs open before the end of 2020 include:  

Health Board Area

LTS

Timeline 

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Museum Ave

Open

County Hall Car Park (Cardiff Bay)

To open Dec 2020

Barry Colcot Sports Centre

Open

Ely

Open

Swansea Bay University Health Board

Grand Theatre Swansea

Open

Hywel Dda University Health Board

Padarn Nursery building, (behind, but not connected to, Padarn Surgery), Penglais Road, Aberystwyth

 

Open

Cwm Taf University Health Board

Pontypridd - Trefforest

Open

Merthyr Leisure Village Car Park

Open

Bridgend Bowls Centre Car Park

Open

Powys

Newtown – Shortbridge Street Car Park

Open

Brecon – Watton Car Park

Open

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bangor City Centre

Open

Wrexham Memorial Hall

Open

Rhyl – Quay Street Car Park

Open

Connah’s Quay, Shotton – Civic Hall

Open

 

We are also discussing with Swansea Bay University Health Board the potential of locating an additional RTS in the area in addition to 8 we already have in place across Wales.

This investment will provide much needed capacity and resilience for us during winter and for our future needs.  We want to ensure that testing is regularly and frequently available and we continue to work with LHBs, local authorities and third sector partners to develop effective outreach with communities across Wales. This includes a targeted focus within areas of higher deprivation, within our more rural or isolated communities and with protected characteristic groups.

In addition to increasing our testing infrastructure for people with symptoms we are also developing our approach and support for people without symptoms to access lateral flow tests (LFT) that detect the presence of the Covid-19 viral antigen from a swab sample and produce results within 20 to 30 minutes. This includes establishing Asymptomatic Testing Sites in higher education, schools and for community testing in Merthyr Tydfil and Lower Cynon.

We will continue to strengthen and develop our testing approach to ensure we have sustainable testing sites that can be flexible and responsive to local needs and can adapt to emergent evidence and the development of new technologies.