NEW Asymptomatic testing centres have opened around North Ayrshire in the hope that people will pop in and be tested.

In Irvine, the centre is within unit 24 at Bridgegate and Dr Joy Tomlinson, Joint Director of Public Health explained why the testing centres were set up.

She said:“Ayrshire residents who don’t have any of the three COVID-19 symptoms, a new continuous cough, high temperature, loss or change in sense of taste or smell, are encouraged to get tested.

“Asymptomatic testing is particularly important if you are a key worker and must attend work and these sites are here to be used regularly and residents should remember that even if you have been vaccinated, it is still important to get tested regularly.”

On Monday, Herald reporter Lorraine Howard went along to the Irvine Asymptomatic centre to be tested.

Here’s how she got on…

“I hadn’t really thought much about the possibility of having COVID-19 until the photographer I was with commented, “I wonder if you’ll test positive?”

“I suppose that was when the small rush of panic settled in. Having flashbacks of going out running with people, visiting the supermarkets, had I been careful? Did I wash my hands as often as I should? Do I leave the house too often?

“But the team at the testing centre soon put me at ease, the fact it was all very well organised helps control your nerves.

“There are soldiers at the doors making you quickly realise this was going to be run like any good military operation.

“The people who took me through each stage were retained firefighters from Dreghorn – the nerves were gone. After setting up an account with the NHS I carried out my own lateral flow test using a swab at the back of my throat and up one nostril.

“I did this in a cubicle with some help from the volunteers. It was then passed through a plastic screen and it all took only a few minutes before I was free to go, admittedly wondering what my result would be.

“Within 30 minutes I had the text saying it was negative and yes, it was a huge relief and worth taking a few minutes out of your day to do.”