Northumberland County Council is offering targeted community testing to key workers who are unable to work from home during the pandemic to help detect cases of Covid in people who are not showing any symptoms.
Around one in three people who have coronavirus show no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing.
The council is now offering booking slots to key workers who cannot work from home and do not have access to testing through their employer.
In particular, testing will be offered to: education or childcare settings, carers, small or local public or voluntary sector organisations, small businesses providing key services, small businesses (less than 50 staff), sole traders or self-employed people and medium-sized local businesses unable to practically access institutional testing.
The tests are only available to eligible key workers who are not showing symptoms of Covid-19.
Testing sites are open at leisure centres in Ashington, Alnwick and Hexham where Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) will be used which deliver the results within 30 minutes.
Those being tested will then be informed of their result via either email or text by NHS Test and Trace - the tests must be pre-booked online – there are no walk-in slots.
Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health at Northumberland County Council said: “Along with Test and Trace and the roll out of the vaccine, this testing programme will help identify hidden infections and is another tool that can be used to bring coronavirus back under control.
“We hope that key workers who do not have the option to work from home will take up this offer and do their bit to help protect their families, colleagues and the communities they work in.“
Anyone testing positive must immediately isolate at home, along with any close contacts. The targeted testing will work alongside the national test and trace system and any positive tests will link to the NHS contact tracing system.
Tests can be booked online at https://bookwhen.com/ncc-covid-test-live.
The testing centres are open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm with evenings and weekend appointments being added in the coming days.