Call for more people to use Covid-19 test centre

Steve Todd at the Covid-19 test centre

Steve Todd at the Covid-19 test centre - Credit: Archant

Army veteran Steve Todd, who has been helping out at a Covid-19 testing station, is urging more people to be tested.

Steve, 64, who is manager of Vane Hill care home in Torquay, responded to a call from the regimental association to help setting up the Plymouth test centre, and now works evening and weekend shifts at the facility at Honiton Road park-and-ride in Exeter.

He said the site is very well run but needs to be used more.

Initially up to 800 a day were being tested with results coming back within 48 hours but this has dropped to about 200 a day now.

Steve, who served with the Devon and Dorset regiment, praised the mix of service veterans, people on furlough and those who have lost their jobs, who make up the team working alongside staff from Boots.

He said: 'They are unsung heroes. All those guys are doing something that not many people would volunteer to do.

'You are assisting somebody getting through a very significant time in their lives.

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'That's why it is important that the testing station runs as efficiently as possible.'

All testers are fully trained and kitted out with personal protective equipment to make the process as efficient as possible and safe for staff and visitors.

His own care home, which allowed him to join the test centre, has stayed virus free.

Paid £10 an hour, workers guide cars into bays, explain the process with phone calls and hand out test kits through a passenger window.

People can carry out the nose and throat swabs themselves, or be helped by Boots staff.

He said one of the important roles was to provide reassurance to people seeking a test, and help them through what could be an unpleasant experience to get a swab sample from the throat and nose.

He said: 'You get a better understanding of Covid-19, you get a realistic view when you see people in cars who don't look well, and you have to reassure people.

'They can get distressed. If it comes back positive, you have to self-isolate, and your family as well.

'Taking the test is a brave decision.'