Northumberland’s first local COVID testing centres set to open
18 Sep 2020
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The county’s first Local COVID-19 Testing Centres are to open in Ashington and Blyth.
The centres, at the People’s Park car park in Ashington (NE63 8HP) and the Marine Terrace car park in Blyth (NE24 2LL) form part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities.
These Local Testing Sites are semi-permanent facilities, and can be accessed on foot, as opposed to the three Mobile Testing Units in the county which can be moved around to other areas and are drive-through only.
The sites and the booking process to make appointments for a test at these sites are run by the Government’s Department of Health and Social Care, as part of their drive to improve the accessibility of COVID-19 testing for communities.
Only those with coronavirus symptoms should book a test. Tests MUST be booked as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus
Residents MUST book at test to attend either of these sites – these are by appointment only.
Testing at the new sites, chosen due their easy walking access, will start on Saturday, September 19, when Ashington opens, with more appointments available each day. Blyth is set to open early next week. Testing is available for everyone who has symptoms, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
Anyone that tests positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at test only if they develop symptoms.
Public Health Consultant, Jim Brown said: “These testing sites are purpose-built locations where people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested for the virus.
“These are walk-through sites which means they are accessible on foot, as opposed to by car, but we must stress appointments are still required before attending to ensure that sites have enough capacity to meet demand and prevent them from becoming overcrowded.”
Councillor Jeff Watson, Cabinet Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing, added: “Local testing centres have made it even easier to get a free coronavirus test. If you have symptoms, however mild, please get tested now to help stop the spread of the virus and protect the people around you.
“Like other parts of the region we are seeing a sharp rise in cases, especially in the south east of Northumberland, and I urge anyone with symptoms to book a test today, and anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow their advice to protect those around them from the virus.”
Professor John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, commented: “This is another opportunity to make testing easily available to anyone who needs it. Sites like this allow people who develop symptoms to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to stay at home with their household or can safely return to work or more normal life.
“This whole programme has been a great example of collaboration between industries, business and the public sector, working together to build the capability needed to protect the population from coronavirus.”
The Department of Health and Social Care are responsible for the operation of the site, and any appointment slots must be booked online via nhs.uk/coronavirus
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