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COVID-19 testing arrangements take shape in Cumbria

Testing for COVID-19 is now available to people in Cumbria at a range of locations.

Four sites can be accessed by anyone who is an essential worker, with a further four sites currently testing health and social care staff only (including the independent and voluntary sectors).

Testing is available for all eligible essential workers at sites in Penrith, Kendal, Preston and Gateshead. Eligible health and social care staff can also access testing in Barrow, Carlisle, Lancaster and Whitehaven.

To be eligible for testing people must be:

  • Currently self-isolating for five days or less due to suspected COVID-19 infection, or;
  • A member of an essential worker’s household who has suspected COVID-19 infection and has been self-isolating for five days or less (which has resulted in the member of staff self-isolating as well).

Testing is most effective in the first three days of COVID-19 symptoms appearing. Testing is considered effective up until day five. No testing should be undertaken after day five, unless for a specific reason.

Importantly, while the people can make their own bookings for Penrith, Kendal, Preston and Gateshead via the national Government website, to access the Barrow, Carlisle, Lancaster and Whitehaven sites health and social care staff must be referred for testing by their employer.

Full details of how to access all testing available to people across the whole of Cumbria can be found at https://www.northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/covidtesting

People should check the specific advice on how the particular test centre will work, the age range eligible for testing and ensure they have an appointment. People will not be tested without an appointment. Those tested will receive their results by text within a few days.

In addition to the testing sites explained above, there is also a range of other testing activity underway. This includes:

  • Locally agreed arrangements to test residents of Cumbrian residential or nursing homes that have been developed between Public Health England, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health and the local health and care system.  Community health teams perform the swabbing, and the laboratory testing is done locally.
  • NHS Trust staff are able to access testing through their own organisation.
  • Other additional temporary testing facilities may also be offered to meet demand – these include mobile testing units operated by the Ministry of Defence which are available to the local area to increase capacity where needed.

Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery, Chair of Cumbria’s Strategic Co-ordination Group, said: “We now have a mix of nationally and locally-led testing facilities in place that means Cumbria has good capacity to test and I would encourage those who are eligible to get tested wherever possible.

“We recognise that there are a range of different to access testing and this could seem daunting , but in summary people can either book their own test via the government website, or speak to their employer and ask them to book a test on their behalf at one of the other local facilities. All the information people need is on the website.”

The different sites are located at:

  • Gateshead – IKEA car park
  • Kendal – Westmorland General Hospital
  • Preston – Preston College
  • Penrith – Penrith Rugby Club
  • Barrow  – Furness General Hospital (health and social care only, employer referral required)
  • Carlisle  – Carleton Clinic (health and social care only, employer referral required)
  • Lancaster – Royal Lancaster Infirmary (health and social care only, employer referral required)
  • Whitehaven – Copeland Red Hub at Flatt Walk (health and social care only, employer referral required)

Employers can also book tests for multiple employees at Penrith, Kendal, Preston and Gateshead via the Government’s online portal: https://coronavirus-invite-testing.service.gov.uk/

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