North Devon Council has been working closely with the national testing programme and has secured a test facility in Barnstaple for essential workers and their family members.

A mobile unit has been set up this morning in the North Devon Leisure Centre car park on the Seven Brethren Industrial Estate and is expected to be open until around 4pm, although the times are subject to change, dependent on demand. If demand is high, it could be set up again tomorrow.

The facility is being managed by the Ministry of Defence and there will be approximately 8 to 12 military staff on site.

People eligible for testing are:

• all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms (see the full list of essential workers)
• anyone over 65 with symptoms
• anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)
• anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above
• social care workers and residents in care homes (with or without symptoms)

If you are eligible for a test and you or someone from your family is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 then you can book in for a test. Once you have your appointment confirmed, make sure you take a workplace form of identification eg. ID badge and you will be able to get tested.

This is a drive through facility although there is some capacity for walk ins. It's much easier if you come by car and please keep your windows up. Please take instructions upon arrival. This is a self-testing centre so there will be no medical practitioners on site to carry out the test. You must not arrive at the testing site without a scheduled appointment. To find out if you are eligible or book a test go to the government portal.

Leader of North Devon Council, Cllr David Worden says: “I am delighted that our essential workers in the North Devon area now have this easily accessible and essential testing service in Barnstaple. We have been working extremely hard over the last few weeks with partners to secure this facility which I believe will play a critical role in our recovery. We appreciate the efforts being made to tackle this virus and ask you continue to follow the government guidance.”

Current government guidance:

- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
- Do not meet others, even friends or family

Remember, you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.