Covid-19: Rapid community testing starts today
A community testing initiative, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, is launching at the Dolphin Centre in Darlington today (Monday 14 December 2020), to help drive down transmission rates.
Roughly one in three people with the virus have no symptoms, so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.
With its targeted approach, community testing aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus in the highest risk areas. Taken together with existing restrictions, community testing will help put areas in tier 3 on a path to begin to move towards tier 2.
Darlington has received a batch of lateral flow tests as part of a new pilot to enable local public health leaders to start testing people without Covid-19 symptoms.
Access to the testing site in the Dolphin Centre will be by stairs or a lift.
All efforts to find people without symptoms work hand in hand with the existing free testing service for those with symptoms. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Councillor Kevin Nicholson, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Health and Housing, said: “Mass community testing in Darlington could significantly improve the detection of positive cases, so people can isolate if they need to, and prevent the spread of the disease.
“I am delighted Darlington has been chosen as the first area in the North-East for mass community testing. I will be getting my test, and would urge people in Darlington to get themselves tested, to help us get back to as normal a life as possible, as soon as possible.
“To improve our chances of detecting positive cases, we’d also encourage people who test negative to book themselves another test within a week to be really sure.”
“The testing we’re offering at the Dolphin Centre is for people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms.
“If you do have symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must not book a test at the Dolphin Centre and should book a test via the gov.uk website or by calling 119.”