The south coast's biggest Covid-19 drive-in test centre is being opened at Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club's stadium in Sussex.
The facility is at American Express Community Stadium. Testing will be provided on a strictly 'by appointment' only basis. The measure is part of the Government's move to increase the amount of testing available for more NHS staff and other key workers. It's hoped the specialist team deployed to the stadium will soon be able to conduct up to 1,000 tests a day.
“It has been amazing to see the Department of Health and Social Care and the team from Deloitte, who are overseeing the set up of these vital test centres, working alongside the army, club staff, AAA *security and the team from our stadium and the club‘s catering partners Sodexo, whose staff are helping to run the site.
The man leading the Sussex NHS's response to the coronavirus outbreak, Adam Doyle, said that testing more NHS staff and key workers in the county is an important part of the area's plans.
“This is one of four drive-through testing sites we now have across Sussex, supported with vehicles to test staff at home if they are unable to travel.
The Community Stadium is already being used as an NHS storage site. Both the stadium and the club's training ground at Lancing have been made available for NHS training and local emergency services while they coordinate their responses to the coronavirus.
In an extreme instance the stadium has been offered to the local authority as a field hospital, if the need arises.
Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club said that they are also working with their catering partners Sodexo - and local charities to help NHS staff by providing food and drink donations, and cash pledges. For example, the club delivered supplies initially designated for its Arsenal and Manchester United matches to staff at the Royal Sussex Hospital after the games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am immensely proud of how our teams and the wider industry have come together to share our expertise and work in partnership with the NHS to fight the threat posed by COVID-19.
Looking forward, Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club has promised to give 1,000 match tickets to NHS staff once the pandemic is over, and when it is safe for fans to return to watch football.