Lincoln people still told to travel over 25 miles for a COVID-19 test

Many people in Lincoln are still having to travel over 25 miles to get a coronavirus test due to reduced capacity at the Lincolnshire Showground site.

They are becoming increasingly frustrated with issues when trying to book online, and some are resorting to simply turning up at the site north of Lincoln to get tested.

Several people came forward to The Lincolnite last week saying they were only given the option online to book tests further away, with the nearest availability offered including Newark, Sheffield and Nottingham.

The problem is persisting this week and Ashley Spring said that on Monday, September 7 there was no drive-through or way-through services, so he was left with no choice but to order a home test kit for his three-year old daughter.

He said: “We are still waiting for a local appointment as she is not well enough to travel. She is a little better today (Monday), but I still wanted to get her tested to be on the safe side, so we will order a home test kit.”

This comes after COVID-19 testing capacity in Lincolnshire was limited by government, who are prioritising other “high-risk” outbreak areas at the moment.

Childminder Heather Sullivan was also stressed with the process after trying to get tests for herself and two children.

Her two-year-old child had cold like symptoms and her six-year-old son had a raised temperature on Friday morning.

As a result, she kept him separate to the other kids she was looking after on the day. She contacted the parents to let them know to come and collect their children.

Heather was also worried that, if she did not get a negative test results back in time, she would have to stop offering childcare to the four families who rely on her.

When trying to book a test online on Friday, she received a message came up saying “this service is temporarily unavailable” and to try again in a few hours.

This message appeared for several people when trying to book a coronavirus test on Monday, September 7.

She phoned 119 and was told the allocated tests had been handed out for the day and all test sites were fully booked. She was told to try again after 7pm to book a test for the next day.

There was an issue booking online as she wasn’t able to book herself or her youngest son, so she phoned up and was offered a test in Newark on Saturday.

Fortunately, both Heather and her two children have since received negative test results, but she was still left feeling frustrated.

She said: “I’m very concerned for a number of reasons, but it seems as though the government are trying to be ‘test less’ to get less positive results, which I can’t see how that can help anyone at all.”

She added that when she got her results, it only initially included hers and not any for the children, so she spent a long time on hold on the phone, before she received theirs later in the day.

Another Lincoln woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said her daughter woke up with symptoms on Friday so she booked a test for Chesterfield as that was the nearest option offered.

She rang 119 who told her that if it doesn’t offer her a nearest site it means there are no slots available, so she drove to Chesterfield.

By Monday she had still not received the tests results and phoned the 119 line, but her call kept getting disconnected.

She said she later got through, but was on hold for around 25 minutes and then told the missing results would be looked into.

As this could take up to two days, she was worried that it could mean them missing two weeks of school and work, so asked to book a retest in Lincoln and was told the website was down.

She turned up at Lincolnshire Showground on Monday and was able to get a test, but said she was told whilst there that there were ongoing issues with the website.

She said: “It is absolutely appalling that they are sending people 100s of miles away for a test when there is one locally.”

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