Covid test results within the hour offered for County Durham residents planning to meet up with others as lockdown rules begin to ease
A free test which can tell if someone has Covid within the hour is now being offered to people planning to meet up with one friend or a member of their family.
Durham County Council’s rapid Lateral Flow Device (LFD) community testing programme offers rapid Covid-19 tests for people without symptoms.
It is open to those who cannot work from home or a workplace which does not offer tests, a carer for a vulnerable person or if someone is in a childcare bubble and is unable to access the tests run by places of education.
The council has also said it is now open to those who want to leave home for recreation or exercise outdoors and meet up with someone from another household.
It says the results will he shared within an hour via a text or email from NHS Test and Trace, with places to be booked in advance.
The council said: “One in three people with Covid-19 do not show symptoms.
"LFD testing can help us to identify positive cases we would otherwise miss due to a person not showing symptoms.
"Identifying infectious individuals early, and those they have been in close contact with, and then isolating them can significantly reduce transmission of the virus.”
It suggested the tests are taken twice a week, with testing slots available between 7.15am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday and centres include East Durham College in Peterlee and Meadowfield near Durham.
Appointments take 15 minutes and people are advised not to eat or drink for 30 minutes before hand.
Lateral flow testing involves taking a throat and nose swab sample and processing the sample with a lateral flow device.
People carry out the swab sample on themselves but trained staff will be on hand to help.
Testing can be booked via http://www.durham.gov.uk/CovidLFT and anyone unable to access a place online can contact the County Durham Together Community Hub on 03000 260 260.
The checks are not for those who have experience the symptoms of Covid-19, such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a change or loss of their sense of taste of smell.
Instead, they should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test via NHS: Coronavirus information or call NHS 119.