Exclusive: Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium lined up as coronavirus testing centre

Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium is being lined up as a potential ‘drive-through’ testing centre for coronavirus, The Star understands.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 3:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 5:06 pm

The news comes as part of the Government's plan to expand their testing capabilities and offer tests to some of the thousands of frontline NHS and key workers in the fight against the virus, which has so far claimed the lives of over 18,000 people across the UK.

It is understood that the testing centre would be put in place at the underpass beneath the South Stand, close to the player’s entrance, with patients arriving at the Penistone Road end of the ground and exiting via Leppings Lane. It is believed that the club are currently looking to see whether they can facilitate the centre.

Patients would be asked to drive up to the centre and have their throats swabbed without leaving their car.

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It is understood that initial tests would not be completely open to the public and will be completed on a strict referral basis only.

Hillsborough has effectively been in lockdown for over a month now but has served as a vital community hub throughout that time.

The North Stand car park has served as a hub for the S6 Foodbank, which in turn has been busy supporting families whose finances have been hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Sam Evans, a Foodbank coordinator, said: “Since the coronavirus crisis began we have seen the number of people accessing the foodbank almost triple, while we have simultaneously launched new foodbank sessions at three different areas across Sheffield, including at Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium.

Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium is being lined up as a coronavirus testing centre.

“We would not have been able to support these individuals and families without the support and generosity extended to us by SWFC.”

Food donations can be made in the car park outside the Owls Megastore between 10.00am and 1.00pm on weekdays. A spokesperson said the specially-designed hub is within a completely safe environment that adheres to government guidelines.

Sheffield Wednesday players and staff kicked off a community fund with a group donation of £20,000. Donations from the wider ‘Wednesday family’ took the total to over £25,000, a figure that will be split between five chosen charities.