Last few days of free universal Covid tests

Last few days of free universal Covid tests
28 March 2022

Free universal testing for COVID-19 comes to an end in England this week, with free tests only being made available to the most vulnerable.

This means that the tests provided through Darlington Borough Council, from five sites across the borough, will no longer be available to collect after Friday, April 1.

Since the council’s community testing programme was started in the Dolphin Centre, back in the week before Christmas in 2020, there have been nearly 180,000 tests provided to people in Darlington. This is almost enough for two tests for everyone living in the borough.

Cllr Kevin Nicholson, Cabinet member for Health & Housing, said: “We were one on the first local authorities to start testing and we led the way not only in the North-East, but in the UK.

“I would like to thank those council colleagues involved in the success of our community testing programme, which simply would not have been possible without their hard work and commitment. I know how daunting it was for the 200 colleagues having to change roles in uncertain and unsettling and times. I have been filled with immense pride at just how dedicated they all were to serving the people of our borough.

“I’m absolutely certain that our programme ensured that communities right across Darlington were protected, and were not been as harshly impacted as they could have been, had our programme not been as successful and as wide-reaching.

“I would also like to thank tens of thousands of Darlington residents who have had a test with us over the last 15 months.”

Penny Spring, Director of Public Health, said: “This is an important step in the government’s ‘Living with COVID’ plan and our journey back to normality. We all need to continue to help reducing our risk of catching or passing on COVID, and protect those most vulnerable by adopting safe behaviours such as getting vaccinated, staying at home if you are ill and continuing to wash your hands.”

People will still be able to book a slot to collect test kits, via the council’s website, for the next few days – visit www.darlington.gov.uk/coronavirus for details. Please be aware, you will no longer be able to collect test kits from these sites from Friday onwards. If you think you need a test for COVID-19 after 1 April, please visit www.nhs.uk for more advice and information.

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