Coronavirus: Council welcomes testing offer for care home staff

Coronavirus: Council welcomes testing offer for care home staff
13 May 2020

COUNCILLORS have welcomed a move by NHS bosses to offer Covid-19 testing to care home staff across County Durham and Darlington.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is offering the appointment-only service to care home staff (and members of their households; children must be 12 or over) with the following symptoms:

  • A high temperature of more than 37.8 degrees Celsius
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing for a lot more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Muscle aching/fatigue that means you are unable to work
  • Persistent headache – so much so that you are unable to work
  • Persistent sore throat – for more than six hours
  • Unexplained loss of taste and smell.

Councillor Kevin Nicholson, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Health and Housing, and Councillor Rachel Mills, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, have welcomed the move.

They said: “We applaud our local hospital trust for taking this positive step to enable hardworking care home heroes and their immediate families the chance to access Covid-19 testing in a fuss-free way.

“It is really important that care home staff make use of this appointment-only service if they or members of their immediate families have symptoms. By increasing testing to care home staff and their families, we can start to get a handle on the impact the virus is having in care home settings across Darlington.

“We are really proud to be a partner organisation of the Foundation Trust, and it’s great that we can all work together to support essential workers fighting this virus on the front line.”

A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: “The location of our testing facilities may be convenient for many care home staff and the process we’ve put in place for booking an appointment is also straight-forward.”

Swab testing will be offered at two drive-through locations: one at Darlington Memorial Hospital, the other at University Hospital North Durham.

Care home staff should call their line manager in the first instance, to let them know they need to self-isolate.

To check eligibility and to make an appointment call the COVID Testing Hotline on 01388 455699 and select Option 3 between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Friday. You need to do this within five days of developing symptoms.