Tyne and Wear Fire Service opens two new coronavirus test pick-up points
A North East fire brigade is offering the public new coronavirus testing kits.
The Government announced earlier this month that lateral flow tests – which can provide results in around 30 minutes – will be available to anyone, regardless of whether they are showing Covid-19 symptoms.
Rapid testing has so far been available to those most at risk and people who need to leave home for work, including frontline NHS workers.
Now Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) has announced tests will be availabe from two of its sites – the service headquarters at Barmston Mere in Washington and Gateshead Community Fire Station in Dryden Road, Low Fell.
The Gateshead collection point will go live at 5pm-7pm tonight, Wednesday, April 14, and Sunderland will be accessible between 9am and noon tomorrow.
From then on, regular days and times will be:
Gateshead: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 5pm until 7pm;
Sunderland: Monday and Thursday 9am until noon.
The service is working closely with the Public Health teams at Gateshead and Sunderland City Councils in delivering the programme.
People picking up kits from either location must wear a mask at all times unless exempt, should respect social distancing rules and stand behind the marked out lines until called.
Sunderland will have parking on site and there is residential parking available near Gateshead Fire Station.
John Rossen, TWFRS Group Manager said: “We are pleased to be helping with the Lateral Flow Testing programme, where people can collect their home testing kits from our fire stations and in doing so play their part in trying to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities.”
Gerry Taylor, Executive Director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning at Sunderland City Council, added: “This is a really welcome move in terms of giving people without symptoms more choice when it comes to accessing home testing kits.
"We would encourage people to take up the opportunity to access regular testing and to also consider arranging a supported test at one of our own sites first, just so they can be sure that they are carrying out the tests correctly once they’re using them at home.”
People can arrange a supported test in Sunderland at https://webapps.sunderland.gov.uk/WEBAPPS/WSS/Sunderland_Portal/Forms/covidtest.aspx
Members of the public can find their nearest lateral flow test collection site at: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/