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Covid testing

A mass testing scheme for people without symptoms is under way in Darlington, as part of the government’s drive to increase the availability of Covid-19 testing.

If you do have Covid-19 symptoms or you test positive after taking a community test, you will need to take a PCR test. Get your free PCR test here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test [external link].

What does the test involve?

You will be asked to take a swab from the back of your throat and from your nostril. You will get instructions on how to do this. A member of staff who will process your swab using a lateral flow test device. 

Do I have to book an appointment for a test, or can I just drop in at the test site?

You will need to book an appointment for a test. If you just drop in at the site you will be asked to leave and make an appointment using this page.

How do you book an appointment if you don’t have access to the internet?

The quickest way to get an appointment is to book online via our website. If you can’t access the internet you can call the Hub on 01325 405000, Monday - Wednesday (8.30am to 4.45pm), Thursday (9.30am to 4.45pm), and Friday (8.30am to 4.15pm).

What will happen when I arrive for my test?

You will be asked to register for the test using your mobile phone. Your phone will need to have a camera and the ability to read bar codes. If your phone doesn’t do this a member of staff will be able to register you for the test. You will be given a bar code and then asked to wait until a testing booth becomes available to do your swab. When you have completed the swab you will then be directed to leave via another door.

When/how will I get the results of the test?

The result of your test is uploaded to the NHS Test and Trace service. They will contact you within a few hours by text with your result and with instructions of what.

How long does it take to do the test?

It takes less than 15 minutes to administer the test.

How long does it take to get the result?

The test produces a result within an hour.

What will this test tell me?

If you get a positive result, it is likely that you were infectious at the time the test was taken. The test cannot detect very low levels of coronavirus in a sample, so if you have only recently been infected, are in the incubation period, or if you have mostly recovered, the test may not give a positive result.

What do I do if I test positive?

If you test positive you will be required to self-isolate and book/order a PCR test in line with the government guidance. You will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace who will give you instructions about what to do, they will also ask you about other people you live with. 

What happens if I test negative?

A negative result does not rule out infection and there can be false negative results.

You should continue to follow the preventative measures currently recommended for stopping the spread of the virus.

To protect yourself and others, you must remember: Hands. Face. Space.

Hands

Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home - use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

Face

Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Space

Stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.

What type of tests will be used and how do they work?

Lateral flow antigen tests are a new kind of technology that can be used to test a higher proportion of asymptomatic people, better enabling us to identify and isolate more people who are at high likelihood of spreading virus, and break the chains of transmission. 

A lateral flow test detects the presence or absence of coronavirus by applying a swab or saliva sample to an absorbent pad. The sample runs along the surface of the pad, showing a positive or negative result dependent on the presence of the virus. 

Can we get the whole family tested at the same time, or do we need separate appointments?

Everyone will need their own appointment. Young people under the age of 18 should attend with their parent/guardian. Parents may be asked to take the swab for their child if needed.

When testing children the following applies:

  • Children aged 11 years and under must be accompanied by a parent/guardian/carer who can administer the test and assist the child.
  • Children aged 12–17 years should be accompanied by a parent/guardian/carer. They can perform the test on themselves but should be supervised in the booth.

Young people aged 18 years and above can self-administer the test.

How many tests are available? Is there enough for all Darlington residents?

There will be enough tests for anyone who wants one and books in.

I live outside the area, but work in Darlington – can I get tested?

The tests are for residents and people who work in Darlington.

Do I only need to get tested if I have symptoms?

You should only get tested at the Dolphin Centre if you have no symptoms. If you are unwell or have symptoms you should contact 119 and arrange a test.

Can I get a test delivered to my home instead of going to a test site?

You cannot get a lateral flow test delivered to your home via the Council's community testing programme, however, you can via the government website. If you are unwell or have symptoms you can get a postal test sent to your house via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test [external link] or by ringing 119.

Can children and young people be tested?

Young people under the age of 18 should attend with their parent/guardian. Parents may be asked to take the swab for their child if needed.

When testing children the following applies:

  • Children aged 11 years and under must be accompanied by a parent/guardian/carer who can administer the test and assist the child.
  • Children aged 12–17 years should be accompanied by a parent/guardian/carer. They can perform the test on themselves but should be supervised in the booth.

Young people aged 18 years and above can self-administer the test.

How can the elderly/disabled or those who are housebound get tested?

Anyone with a disability can get a test. The test site is fully accessible. Anyone who attends for the test should be able to provide their own consent.

Do I have to get a test? 

It is entirely voluntary. We are hoping that many people will recognise the benefits of getting involved in local testing efforts to reduce the spread of the virus in their communities.

Will people be paid to take tests?

No

Is the test safe/are there any side effects?

Some people find it uncomfortable to take a swab from the back of their throat, but there are no specific side effects from taking the test.

How accurate is the test?

Public Health England has carried out an extensive evaluation of these tests and have shown that they are accurate and reliable. They can detect COVID-19 in people without symptoms who could unknowingly be passing the virus onto others and the test detects over 95% of individuals with high viral loads.

Can I get financial help if I test positive?

Visit our Coronavirus page for details of support available.

What support is available if I have to self isolate?

Visit our Coronavirus page for details of support available.

If my result is negative, can I visit my mum in her care home or meet up with friends?

You should continue to observe the existing guidelines and restrictions that are in force. You may be asked to take a test at a care home before visiting.

Do I need to get tested more than once?

Yes, you will be asked to have another test in 7 days.

What if you run out of tests?

We will replenish the stocks as we need them. The Department of Health and Social Care has committed to provide enough tests.

Is the test free? 

These tests provided by the government and are free and are linked to the NHS Test and Trace service. 

Are lateral flow tests less accurate than other tests?

Lateral flow and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have different characteristics and different uses. PCR tests have higher specificity and sensitivity but require a lab to process results and are therefore slower and more expensive. They are therefore well suited for people with Coronavirus symptoms.

While lateral flow tests have lower sensitivity, they deliver results far faster and do not require a lab. This means we can test far larger numbers of asymptomatic people and get them their test result faster. This will enable us to capture a large percentage of people who are infectious, but asymptomatic and unaware of the fact that they are possibly spreading Covid.

Why should people take part?

We aim to identify people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms but who are infectious and could spread the infection to others unknowingly. Identifying and supporting infectious people to isolate before they develop symptoms will help reduce spread.

I am quarantining after being abroad. The government rules say I can take a Covid test on day 5, and if negative, I can end quarantine early. If I don't have symptoms can I get a community test after day 5 of quarantine and if it's negative can I reduce my quarantine period?

To take part in the Test for Release for International Travel scheme you need to book a test with a private test provider. There is more information on the government website [external site]. You can not use a community test to reduce your quarantine.

What should I do if I have coronavirus symptoms?

Do not come to the testing site if you have symptoms.

Please book a test if you have symptoms of coronavirus high temperature, continuous cough or loss of / change in taste or smell – at nhs.uk/coronavirus [external link] or by calling 119 in England and Wales, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Community testing

The tests, available at six sites across Darlington, are aimed at people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms.

Tests must be booked, there are no walk-in slots available.

Book an asymptomatic test at:

Dolphin Centre

Click and Collect

From Monday 12 April you will be able to collect a Covid-19 home testing kit from the testing sites listed on this page. To help us manage demand and maintain social distancing please book a collection slot by clicking on the button for the test centre you wish to visit.

Opening hours are as follows

Please note that the opening times of testing sites are subject to change in line with demand for appointments.

Dolphin Centre, Horse Market

Dolphin Centre opening times
Day Opening hours
Monday 1:30pm - 6:30pm
Tuesday 8:00am - 1:00pm
Wednesday 1:30pm - 6:30pm
Thursday 8:00am - 1:00pm
Friday 1:30pm - 6:30pm
Saturday 10:00am - 3:00pm
Sunday 10:00am - 3:00pm

 

  Book a test at the Dolphin Centre

  Book a collection for a home testing kit at the Dolphin Centre

Watch the video below to see what to expect when you come for your test at the Dolphin Centre:

Firthmoor Community Centre, Burnside Road

Firthmoor opening times
Day Opening hours
Monday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Tuesday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Wednesday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Thursday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Friday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

 

  Book a collection for a home testing kit at Firthmoor Community Centre

Head of Steam Railway Museum, North Road Station

Head of Steam opening times
Day Opening hours
Monday Closed
Tuesday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Thursday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Friday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Saturday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Sunday  10:00am - 2:00pm

  Book a collection for a home testing kit at the Head of Steam Museum

Darlington Hippodrome, Parkgate road

Darlington Hippodrome opening times
Day Opening hours
Monday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Tuesday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Thursday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Friday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Saturday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Sunday Closed

  Book a collection for a home testing kit at the Darlington Hippodrome

Eastbourne Sports Complex, Bourne Ave

Eastbourne Sports Complex opening times
Day Opening hours
Monday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Tuesday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Wednesday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Thursday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Friday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

  Book a collection for a home testing kit at Eastbourne Sports Complex

If I do have symptoms?

People who are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms – a high temperature, new continuous cough and change or loss of their sense of taste of smell – must not book a test at the Dolphin Centre.

If you do have symptoms, please book a test via the gov.uk [external link] website or by calling 119.

  Book a symptomatic test