Exeter's Sandy Park turns into Covid-19 testing centre

A general view of Sandy Park
A general view of Sandy Park
©Steve Haag

Exeter Chiefs have confirmed that their home ground Sandy Park will now serve as a Covid-19 Testing Centre for the NHS.

The facility can test up to a maximum of 12 persons every hour and is being operated on the RD&E’s behalf by healthcare charity Devon Freewheelers.

Professor Adrian Harris, Medical Director at the RD&E also Head of Medical Services for the Chiefs lavished praise on the health-line workers and believes more testing is the only way to contain the Covid-19 virus which has claimed close to 18,000 lives in the UK.

"Testing for the virus is at the heart of our response to the Covid-19 outbreak," he told the official website of Exeter Chiefs.

"By testing all our in-patients and the residents of care homes we can minimise the risk of transmission, and by testing our staff we can make sure that we can help people return to work as soon as it is safe for them to do so.

“Clinical and non-clinical teams have worked around the clock, tirelessly and selflessly collaborating to provide an absolutely outstanding Covid-testing service. The staff in the Emergency Department will be staffing it 24/7 to ensure we maximise the testing capacity through the lab at all times".

Harris also went on to thank Exeter Chiefs in extending their support during these difficult times.

“Our microbiology team have transformed their normal working patterns, providing a 24-hour service. They’ve optimised our existing analysers, introduced new technology, and worked with other scientists from the Genomics team to perform these tests, which are so essential in the fight against this virus.

"But all the science in the world is no use without the samples to actually test, and our Portering team has been superb in making sure that the test samples are collected and delivered smoothly from across the hospital.

“I want to pay tribute to all our staff and our partners at the University, and also Devon Freewheelers who have been helping to carry out the swab testing in the community and hospital.

"I would also like to thank the Exeter Chiefs for their generous help in providing the facilities for the drive through testing centre. It’s been an incredible collective effort, in the most challenging of circumstances.”