The University has been working with the Public Health Agency (PHA) over recent months to establish and implement the mobile testing units, which were alternating on each campus. Driven by the increase in those displaying symptoms of COVID-19 during the typical cold and flu season, the alternating campus mobile testing units have been upgraded to local testing sites to allow for more substantial testing. It is part of the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) public testing programme through which everyone in Northern Ireland with symptoms of COVID-19 is eligible for a free test and it will help ensure a robust public health response as we move through the next stages of the pandemic.
The local testing site is located at the Carrickmore House carpark on the Magee campus and at Carpark four on the Coleraine campus and is available to members of the local community as well as students and staff.
The availability of a local testing site on both campuses provides students with rapid access to testing and, where students are symptomatic and in need of a test, it will help the University to mitigate the risk of spread on campus.
The announcement follows a pilot testing programme that was carried out by Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast in collaboration with the Public Health Agency in August to examine the prevalence of current or past infection within the student community. In the study of 500 participants, no students tested positive for COVID-19 and 6% of participants were found to have antibodies suggesting prior infection. This is in line with previous studies that have been conducted in England to assess the prevalence of antibodies amongst the general population.
Access to testing at the local testing sites on the Magee or Coleraine campuses will be by appointment only, booked via the existing DHSC channels, either online or by calling 119.
Only book a test if you have the symptoms of COVID-19, which are a new continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a change in your sense of taste or smell.