Council celebrates providing over 30,000 community tests

Council celebrates providing over 30,000 community tests
13 May 2021

A Councillor has written to the hundreds of Darlington Borough Council staff who have been working at the Council’s community testing sites to thank them for their efforts in providing more than 30,000 community Covid tests for people not showing symptoms.

Earlier today, Cllr Kevin Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Health & Housing at the Council, handed out the letters of thanks at the town’s first community testing site, The Dolphin Centre.

Darlington was one of the first local authorities to roll out a community testing scheme in December and as of today (13 May), has provided over 30,000 lateral flow tests.

In the letter to staff, Cllr Kevin Nicholson said: “I’m delighted that over 30,000 community tests have been provided by Darlington Borough Council as part of our testing scheme, and I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for playing your part in protecting our communities.

“You have all been incredible, and the success of our testing programme would not have been possible without your hard work and commitment. I know how daunting it has been for you all, changing roles in uncertain and unsettling and times. I have been filled with immense pride at just how positive you have been when serving the people of our borough.

“Nearly 400 people who did not have Covid-19 symptoms have been identified as part of our testing scheme. I’m certain that by identifying these positive cases, our communities right across Darlington have been protected, as each case could have easily passed on Covid-19 to others if they were not identified.”

Since the scheme launched, approximately 200 Darlington Borough Council staff were trained to undertake the community tests at the Council’s testing sites.

The staff were utilised from a variety of roles for the Council, including Front of House at the Darlington Hippodrome, which has been closed due to lockdown restrictions.

In addition to the onsite testing, over 2,000 (2150) click and collect kits of seven tests have been supplied by the scheme, which launched the click and collect service on 12 April.

From Monday (17 May), the Council’s testing sites will supply click and collect kits only, as the Council staff members return to their previous roles.

Cllr Nicholson added: “Now that lockdown restrictions are easing, our community testing scheme will move to a click and collect only service. This will allow our staff to return to their previous roles, whilst still providing a convenient and essential service to protect the people of Darlington.”

The click and collect community testing service will run from three of the town’s current sites (The Dolphin Centre, Head of Steam museum and Firthmoor community centre) as well as two new sites – Eastbourne Sports Complex and Darlington Hippodrome.

Tim Hollinshead, House Manager at the Hippodrome, said: “It was a daunting experience for our team to change roles in uncertain and unsettling and times, but we have been hugely proud to play our part in keeping Darlington safe.

“Now that restrictions are easing and the Hippodrome can open its doors to the wonderful people of Darlington from Monday, we are excited to get back to our previous roles.

“We are all keen to welcome back our fantastic customers, whilst also providing the click and collect service from the Hippodrome as a new community testing site.”

Click and collect testing kits at all the Council’s sites are free and available for people who do not have coronavirus symptoms.

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