More than 150 reservists from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (4YORKS) are helping to support the government’s effort to increase testing. They are operating mobile testing units for Yorkshire’s frontline workers and people vulnerable to the virus as part of the COVID-19 response.
The troops have been operating the mobile testing units from around 20 sites across the region, rotating every three days to ensure all communities are receiving support before transferring to a new location.
Depending on the number of online bookings, they can do around 300 tests a day at any single site, and the volume of tests the troops have been doing across the region accounts for more than ten per cent of all tests carried out nationally from mobile testing units.
Reservists from 4YORKS’ Burma Company – whose headquarters is in Barnsley – have been operating the units in South Yorkshire and have so far been in Barnsley, Rotherham, Leeds and Skipton.
Reservist Private Dan Millea, aged 20, from Herringthorpe, Rotherham (pictured top of page), works as an assistant accountant with Morgan Sindall, in Sheffield, but is currently mobilised to support the COVID-19 response.
“A lot of the people coming here have COVID-19 symptoms so they’re often not feeling their best and are grateful for the chance to know for certain whether they have the virus or not,” he said.
“I’ve lived in Rotherham all my life and so for me it means a lot to be able to help out the local community and it’s only because I joined the British Army as a reservist last year that I’ve had the opportunity to do so.”
In Yorkshire, there are more than 2,700 reservists who combine full-on roles in the military with lives and careers in civvy street.
Private Paul Bailey, aged 22, from Hunters Bar in Sheffield, first joined the reserves while he was studying biochemistry and genetics at Sheffield University and was mobilised with 4YORKS at the beginning of April.
He said: “People are really appreciative of being able to have the test so it’s nice to be part of the team that is helping to make that possible.
“We had one man with two children with cystic fibrosis and he needed the test so he could be sure he could get back to being with his family without putting anyone at risk.
“We operate a drive-through system and people stay in their cars throughout and we give them instructions and support over the phone. From here, they get their results with 48 to 72 hours and that means those without the virus can go back to doing their invaluable work on the frontline or return to being with their families if they have been self-isolating.”