CORONAVIRUS testing capacity is being ramped up in Bournemouth in response to a rising number of cases in the town.

On top of the existing facility in Creekmoor, a new facility is due to open in the Lansdowne later this month while the mobile unit which visits towns across Dorset will also now stop in Wallisdown.

Dorset’s director of public health, Sam Crowe, said it was “critical” cases were identified “as quickly as possible” and that the new provision would improve accessibility for people without cars.

Under current testing arrangements, the testing centre at Creekmoor park and ride is the only one of its kind in Dorset while Weymouth, Bridport and Dorchester are served by a mobile unit on set days.

But with the number of cases rising, particularly in Bournemouth, and concerns about the accessibility of testing for people living in the town without cars, new facilities are being planned.

From tomorrow the mobile testing unit will also stop in Wallisdown on scheduled days while a centre will also be set up in the Lansdowne and is expected to remain in place for several months.

Cabinet member for BCP Council’s coronavirus response, councillor Nicola Greene, said she “hoped” this would be followed by further facilities “very soon”.

She said it was “great” that the Creekmoor testing centre was in operation but that it was “difficult to access” for people without cars.

The Lansdowne facility is being set up as a “local testing site”, under a new initiative by the Department of Health to improve coronavirus test provision in more urban areas.

They are all accessible only on foot and designed to cater to highly-populated residential parts of the country where car ownership is lower.

The county’s health protection board is working on plans to roll out further such facilities in the coming months.

“As we are seeing numbers rise, it is critical that cases are identified as quickly as possible to help control the spread of the virus,” board chairman Mr Crowe said.

“Accessible testing is extremely important and we are therefore making applications to the government for local test sites in the county that our local communities can also walk to.”

Both the new Lansdowne centre and mobile unit will be appointment-only with slots available to be booked online via the national portal.

The locations of these facilities have yet to be confirmed.