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Coronavirus: community testing

Restrictions are easing, but you must still remember: Hands. Face. Space. Fresh air. Get the latest information about coronavirus.

We're offering free rapid COVID-19 tests for people without symptoms.

One in three people who have COVID-19 do not show any symptoms, so they may be spreading the infection without knowing it. We can use community testing to identify more people who are carrying the infection, which can help to stop the spread.

What is the test?

This kind of community testing, for people without symptoms, is done using a Lateral Flow Test or LFT. You can get the results quickly, usually in around an hour.

Lateral flow testing is only for people who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. In particular, we're encouraging people who cannot work from home, and therefore come into contact with lots of people, to book regular tests.

Where can I get a test?

Middlesbrough Sports Village, Newport Community Hub, and North Ormesby Community Hub will all be closed on Thursday 6 May because of the elections.

Middlesbrough Sports Village will also be closed on Friday 7 May. Newport Community Hub and North Ormesby Community Hub will both be open on Friday 7 May.

You can get tested at:

The Sports Village and Newport Hub are both wheelchair accessible and have disabled parking. North Ormesby Hub does not have disabled parking, and is not completely wheelchair accessible.

How can I book a test?

What if I have COVID-19 symptoms right now?

Lateral flow tests are only for people without symptoms.

If you have symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperate, or loss/change to your sense of smell or taste), you should self-isolate immediately and only leave home to get a test. You can book a coronavirus test online or by calling 119.

Tests for people with symptoms are available at Cannon Park, the Teesside University Printworks building car park (off Woodlands Road), and Pallister Park. All three sites are open from 8am to 12pm, every day of the week.

What if I get symptoms between now and going for my lateral flow test?

If you have symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperate, or loss/change to your sense of smell or taste), you should self-isolate immediately and only leave home to get a test. You can book a coronavirus test online or by calling 119. You should also cancel your appointment to have a lateral flow test, so someone else can take the slot. Your confirmation email will have a link to cancel your lateral flow test.

Please do not come to the community testing site (Middlesbrough Sports Village, Newport Hub, or North Ormesby Hub) if you have symptoms.

How can I get to my appointment?

The community testing sites are at Middlesbrough Sports VillageNewport Community Hub, and North Ormesby Community Hub. There are yellow signs by the side of the road to show the location. Parking (including disabled parking) is available at the Sports Village and Newport Hub. North Ormesby Hub has on-street parking only, and no disabled parking.

You can use the AA journey planner to get driving instructions, or Traveline's journey planner to plan a route using public transport.

What happens at my appointment?

At the Sports Village and Newport Hub, you'll be able to wait inside for your appointment. If your appointment is at North Ormesby, you'll need to wait outside, so please dress for the weather.

Please keep your distance from anyone who isn't in your household. You'll need to wear a face covering the entire time, except when you're doing the test.

You're welcome to attend your appointment with a carer, and elderly and vulnerable people can bring someone with them to their appointment if needed. You're welcome to bring your children if you cannot leave them alone while attending your appointment, but they must stay with you and be supervised at all times.

You'll do the lateral flow test yourself. It involves taking a nose and throat swab. Our testing site staff will be able to explain how to do the test, but they will not be able to do the test for you. If you attend your appointment with someone, like a carer, they can help you do the test.

How do I get my results?

Your test results will be available in roughly an hour. You can leave the test site as soon as a testing site staff member tells you that your test worked okay. You'll get your results by text and email.

If the lateral flow test says you have COVID-19, you will need to take a PCR test to confirm the result. You can book a PCR test online or by calling 119. It's a legal requirement that you must self-isolate from the date of your positive lateral flow test. You may also be entitled to financial support from that date. If you take a PCR test and the result is negative, you will not legally be required to self-isolate any more.

The Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment could help if you'll struggle financially with having to self-isolate and not work.

If you test negative, it's essential that you keep on following the current coronavirus rules and restrictions.

Take a look around the community testing site

FAQs

Anyone who lives or works in Middlesbrough, and does not currently have coronavirus symptoms, can book a rapid test. We want to encourage people taking part to be tested twice each week.

The results of the lateral flow test are available in around an hour.

You can book your test online now.

Anyone who lives or works in Middlesbrough. We are particularly encouraging those who cannot work from home during the lockdown restrictions to be tested.

Lateral flow tests are validated technology, it is safe, inexpensive and the results are trusted.

Extensive testing from Public Health England and the University of Oxford show lateral flow tests are specific and sensitive enough to be used for mass testing, including for people without symptoms (asymptomatic people).

We aim to identify people who do not have coronavirus symptoms but who are infectious and could spread the virus to others without realising. Identifying and supporting infectious people to self-isolate before they develop symptoms will help to reduce the spread of the virus.

You do not have to get tested. We hope that people will see the benefit of taking part in community testing to reduce the spread of the virus in their communities. No one is getting paid for taking part in community testing.

Community testing uses a Lateral Flow Test (LFT). It can detect whether or not coronavirus is present in a swab or saliva sample.

The sample is mixed with a buffer solution, which releases and breaks up virus fragments. Some of the solution is then dropped on to the lateral flow device. The sample runs along the surface of the device's absorbent strip, showing at the end a visual positive or negative result dependent on the presence of the virus.

Lateral flow devices do not need a laboratory to process the test. Swabbing and processing of tests must be done at a dedicated testing site, by trained staff.

Lateral flow antigen tests can be used to test a higher number of people without symptoms (asymptomatic people). This kind of testing helps us to identify people who may be spreading the virus without realising, and by making sure they isolate, we can stop them passing the virus on.

Lateral flow and PCR tests have different characteristics and different uses.

We use lateral flow tests to find people in the community who have coronavirus but do not have any symptoms. We use PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests to see whether or not someone with coronavirus symptoms has the virus.

PCR tests have higher specificity and sensitivity but require a laboratory to process results and are therefore slower and more expensive. Because of this, they're better suited to specific cases, like testing people who have coronavirus symptoms.

While lateral flow tests have lower sensitivity than PCR, they deliver results far faster and do not require a lab. This means we can test far more asymptomatic people and get them their test result faster than with PCR technology. This will help us to capture a large percentage of people who are infected and infectious, but have no symptoms and are not aware that they could be spreading coronavirus.

It takes less than 15 minutes to do the test.

The test gives a result within an hour.

If you get a positive result, it is likely that you were infectious at the time the test was taken.

The antigen test cannot detect very low levels of coronavirus in a sample, so if you have only recently been infected, are in the incubation period (the time between getting infected and getting symptoms), or if you've mostly recovered, the test may not give a positive result.

If the lateral flow test says you have COVID-19, you will need to take a PCR test to confirm the result. You can book a PCR test online or by calling 119. It's a legal requirement that you must self-isolate from the date of your positive lateral flow test.

If you take a PCR test and the result is negative, you will not legally be required to self-isolate any more.

You might be able to claim the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if self-isolating and not going to work means you'll struggle financially.

You can find out more on the Test and Trace Support Payment page

Even if you test negative, you must keep following the rules for stopping the spread of the virus.

To protect yourself and others, you must remember: Hands. Face. Space.

  • Hands – wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home - use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.

The NHS digital team are working on making this possible.

If you have symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperate, or loss/change to your sense of smell or taste), you should self-isolate immediately and only leave home to get a test. You can book a coronavirus test online or by calling 119.

Tests for people with symptoms are available at Cannon Park and the Teesside University Printworks building car park (off Woodlands Road). Both sites are open from 8am to 8pm, every day of the week.