Brighton & Hove Albion have confirmed that the American Express Community Stadium has been converted into one of the country's biggest coronavirus testing centres as clubs continue to step up their Covid-19 pandemic support efforts.
The Seagulls' ground is one of several large-scale sites that are being set up to help screen for the coronavirus, and is expected to operate on an appointment-only basis for key workers as the NHS continues to fight the spread of the illness.
It becomes the latest of 32 venues opened to date to help identify individuals with symptoms of the disease, which has claimed over 15,000 lives in the UK alone since the outbreak began.
“It is hugely impressive, and a great triumph of both teamwork and hard work," the club's chief executive Paul Barber said in a statement . "The Amex will be the biggest testing site anywhere on the south coast, and will be used for self-testing and assisted testing.
“The centre was scheduled to see more than 50 NHS frontline workers on Saturday afternoon, and they will have the results of their tests within 48 hours. Within a few days, the site should reach its capacity of up to 1,000 tests a day.
“The members of our club and staff who will be on site day to day have all been trained and the level of attention detail is phenomenal. Huge credit must go to our safety and security team, led by Ade Morris, the Sodexo team led by Andy Perkins and Sophie Partridge and her team at Deloitte. They have been patient, diligent and supportive to the DHSC, NHS England and various other sub-contractors to make this happen.”
NHS Horsham and Mid-Sussex executive Adam Doyle was equally complimentary in his comments, adding: “Testing more of our staff and other key workers, so those who are fit can return to work, is an important part of our plans for responding to the virus.
“This is one of four drive-through testing sites we now have across Sussex, supported with vehicles to test staff at home if they are unable to travel.
“I’d like to thank colleagues from across the NHS, local councils and of course Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club for all their hard work in getting all these testing facilities up and running."