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Covid-19: Second phase of community testing to begin

Covid-19: Second phase of community testing to begin
07 January 2021

The next phase of a community testing initiative, aimed at bringing down cases of Covid-19 in Darlington, gets underway next week with the launch of five further venues.

More than 4,000 tests have been carried out at the Dolphin Centre since the scheme was launched on 14 December.

Darlington was the first local authority area in the North-East to launch a community testing programme, and is also the first to expand the scheme into local communities.

Booking is now open for tests at the Head of Steam Railway Museum, as well as community centres in Firthmoor, Red Hall, Heighington and Middeton St George. The first appointments are available on Monday (11 January).

Tests are available to anyone who DOES NOT have Covid-19 symptoms – going for a test is a valid reason for leaving home during the current lockdown restrictions.

Tests will also still be available at the Dolphin Centre. If you do not have symptoms, you can book a test at www.darlington.gov.uk/testing or by calling 01325 405000 if you do not have internet access.

People who do have Covid-19 symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – must self-isolate and book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Councillor Kevin Nicholson, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Health & Housing, said: “With more than 4,000 tests already carried out in the first phase, the response to our community testing programme in Darlington has been excellent, and it’s great to see Darlington leading the way in terms of mass testing in the region.

“With another national lockdown now upon us, it’s more important than ever that we do as much as we can to drive down Covid-19 rates in our communities, and these tests for people without symptoms will help us to do just that.

“I am delighted that we’re now able to offer tests in another five locations, so I would encourage as many people as possible can come forward to get tested. Testing is a valid reason to leave your home during the current lockdown, so people can be reassured that they will not be breaking the rules by coming for a test.

“To improve our chances of finding positive cases, we’re continuing to urge people who do test negative to book themselves another test within a week to make certain.

“This particularly applies to people who are still going out to work – come forward for repeat tests to help protect yourself and your family.”