The first of a new kind of coronavirus testing centre is opening in County Durham next month.
As part of the Government’s drive to increase coronavirus testing, the Department of Health and Social Care is setting up a facility in Territorial Lane car park in Durham City.
The centre opens on Thursday 8 October. Appointments will be available from 8am to 8pm, seven days per week, and unlike mobile testing units which visit sites across the county, the new facility will stay in the same location. Also, by locating it in the city centre, it will help to improve access to testing, especially for those who do not have a car and cannot travel to out of town mobile testing sites. The centre will be pedestrian access only and will feature better accommodation and shelter for those being tested.
Preparation of the site will be taking place over the next few days and Durham County Council and Durham University, which owns the car park, have written to residents to inform them. There may be some local disruption while the build takes place, but every effort will be made by the operators to minimise any potential disruption for nearby residents and businesses.
While the new testing centre is being built, the mobile testing unit which visits Belmont Park and Ride has been relocated to Durham University’s Howlands car park on the outskirts of Durham City on certain days of the week.
Testing is available for those either with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense or taste – or those who have been asked to get tested by a doctor or public health professional.
Appointments must be booked through the national Covid-19 booking system at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Results will be provided the next day and there will be additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
People without these symptoms should not seek a test unless they have been specifically advised to do so.
Anyone attending an appointment will be advised how to get to and from the test site safely without putting others at risk, as well as the public health measures they need to follow. This includes social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including when travelling to and from the testing centre.
For information and advice about coronavirus and the support available, visit www.durham.gov.uk/coronavirus