The new facilities announced for Northumberland at the Sandstell car park in Spittal and in Hexham, which add to those already running in Blyth and Ashington, form part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities.
The layout of each of these sites has been carefully designed to ensure people can move around safely and prevent spread of the virus.
Testing at the site in Spittal, chosen like the others due to its ‘easy walking access’, will start tomorrow (Friday). There will be additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities who require a test.
The car park is in the Berwick East ward of county councillor Georgina Hill, who said: “I am delighted that we have managed to secure a local testing site for our town, which will be situated in Spittal.
“Clearly, this will allow better access to testing for our residents and those in the surrounding area.”
The other Berwick county councillors, Catherine Seymour and Gregah Roughead, said: “Local residents and businesses across north Northumberland have said that they wish for better access for testing in our locality, so we are very pleased that a testing site has been made available in the Berwick area.”
The centres and the booking process to make appointments for a test at these sites are run by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Only those with coronavirus symptoms should book a test. They must be booked as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Residents must book at test to attend these sites – these are by appointment only.
All testing sites in Northumberland have been risk assessed to ensure they do not pose any health and safety risks to the surrounding areas. This has been confirmed by the council’s Health and Safety team following the assessment requirements put in place by the Government.
Anyone that tests positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts.
This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Coun Richard Dodd – the county council’s deputy leader, with responsibility for public health – said: “Local testing centres have made it even easier to get a free coronavirus test.
“If you have symptoms, however mild, please get tested now to help stop the spread of the virus and protect the people around you.”