PATIENTS with Covid-19 symptoms are being clinically assessed at a new drive-in clinic in Winsford.

A coronavirus assessment centre opened on Monday on Dene Drive, beside Aldi.

Doctors and nurses wearing scrubs, aprons, gloves, masks and eye protection tended patients who were also asked to wear a mask.

All five surgeries in Winsford have worked together to set up the emergency facility.

More than 40 residents volunteered to marshall cars in response to an urgent plea.

Dr Jonathan Griffiths, a GP at Swanlow practice, worked in the Red Clinic on the first day with Dr Declan Kelly from Weaver Vale surgery.

Dr Griffiths said: “We have assessed some patients over the telephone and seen some in the clinic. The systems are working smoothly and the car park marshals have done a great job. They have been helping with the queue from the pharmacy as well.

“Currently numbers of people needing to be seen in the clinic are low but we are expecting them to increase over time.

“We are expecting to assess a number of patients without them leaving their cars.

Winsford Guardian:

Volunteer marshalls direct patients with coronavirus symptoms to the red clinic Picture: John Malam

“If patients are invited into the building they will be given a mask to wear and asked not to touch anything.

“We are decontaminating equipment, couches, door handles and anything else touched by the patient immediately after they are seen.”

Patients who suspect they may have coronavirus are advised to call 111 and their practice will then refer them to the Red Clinic.

Dr Griffiths said: “If you have new continuous cough or fever over 37.8 then you must self-isolate according to government guidelines and seek medical guidance from 111."

Doctors stress the centre cannot test for the infection.

“We currently have no ability to test for coronavirus covid-19 at this clinic,” said Dr Griffiths. “At the moment the only tests are being done on patients who are admitted to hospital.”

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Dr Michael Fallon, a GP at Weaver Vale surgery, said: "We will be asking patients to bring something red in the car with them and wave it at the marshal so they can be directed to the red zone without any interaction. Patients will be told not to wind down the window.

Winsford Guardian:

More than 40 residents have volunteered to be marshalls to direct patients to the assessment centre on Dene Drive Picture: John Malam

"Practices across town have been working together with great support from Winsford Town Council, Friends of Winsford Town Park, St John Ambulance, SimplySigns, Winsford churches and the whole Winsford community."

Stalwart community leader John Malam, from Winsford worked with the NHS to set up a team of volunteers.

John said: “It’s been a truly heartwarming experience and just shows how connected and wonderful the Winsford community is."

"We’ve had an amazing response. More than 40 people volunteered to act as marshals." and a full rota has been worked out for this week.

“We’re continuing to receive calls. People can still phone us to have their names added to the list.”

Catherine Ashford, 31, a supply teacher at Winsford Academy, said: “I wanted to give something back." It is nice that people are coming together in this time.”

Barmaid Rachel Stockton, 38, said: “I’m just trying to help out while I’m not working.

“We don’t have any contact with anybody under suspicion." Patients are told to stay in their car and bring something red to wave at windscreen and not to open windows.”

Management consultant Richard Ellison-Smith, 61, said: “I felt useless in the middle of this crisis and wanted to be able to do something however small to help."

“We are observing strict social distancing.”

Winsford Guardian:

Volunteer marshalls Richard Ellison-Smith and Chris Brennan directing patients to the assessment centre Picture: John Malam

Retired process control engineer Chris Brennan, 64, said: “The instructions we’ve been given are superbly clear for our safety andany patients.

“It worked extremely well. We have to make sure the whole system works before we get the rush.”

Dr Griffiths added:"This has given us the opportunity to be on the front foot. We can test this out and make sure that it works."

“The response the community has made to marshall the car park has been really impressive."

“This has been mirrored by lots of people, schools and businesses out there who are making visors and equipment.

"It is heartening to see the community coming together."

To volunteer as a marshall call John Malam on 01606 863540 or 07941 847937.