A PERMANENT covid-19 local testing site could be developed in Clydebank to benefit West Dunbartonshire Council residents who have developed coronavirus symptoms.

West Dunbartonshire, which has the highest infection rate in the country, has been deemed a “priority” by the Scottish Government.

Despite the number of people being tested locally increasing, the rate of infection has dropped from 93 per 100,000 to 69 per 100,000 in just one week. Support for low-income households, who are self-isolating, will also become available through the local authority.

An update was brought before a virtual full council meeting last Wednesday.

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Joyce White, chief executive of West Dunbartonshire Council, said: “In these unprecedented times, we continue to react and respond to what is a very challenging situation which has affected all of our communities.

“There will be support available for people who are self-isolating and that will include a grant of £500 for those on low incomes.”

Mobile testing units have been established in Dumbarton and the council is now looking to create a more permanent facility within Clydebank.

At the beginning of June 200 people were tested in West Dunbartonshire, at the beginning of July that figure had risen to 800, by August it was over 1000 and the weekend ending September 6, numbers rose to more than 2500.

Councillors previously asked if the Golden Jubilee Hospital could be used as a testing facility, but they were informed last week that only members of staff could be checked there.

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Beth Culshaw, chief officer for health & social care partnership, said: “A mobile testing unit has been established in Dumbarton, initially at the Meadow Centre and more recently at Church Street. You can test up to 400 individuals in one day.

“We are now taking forward plans for a local testing site. Given that we already have a testing unit in Dumbarton and there is a mobile unit in Helensburgh, we look to locate this new venue in Clydebank to meet the requirement of clients.

“This will be within a building, not a gazebo. These will be established across Scotland by the end of October, and we have been given priority as we are a university town.

“We have seen a significant change in the number of people getting tested. In terms of the number of cases locally there has been a rise in the number of cases. Statistics vary depending on testing.

“It is a rapidly changing situation and the figures change daily. But the restrictions seem to be having the desired effect.”

The situation will be monitored with further reports presented councillors in due course.