Community COVID testing - how to book a test and your questions answered
New COVID Test and Collect Centre opens in Hartlepool
Residents are encouraged to get a test twice a week
A new COVID Test and Collect Centre is now open in Hartlepool, replacing the existing Community COVID Testing Centre at Mill House Leisure Centre.
The new centre is in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, on the ground floor just along from WHSmith and directly opposite the Vodafone shop and is open Mondays to Fridays (excluding Bank Holidays) from 9am to 5pm.
If you are aged 18 or over and live or work in Hartlepool and you DON'T have COVID symptoms, you can use the centre to:
* GET A FREE TEST AT THE CENTRE - Tests should be booked in advance. You can book a test now by clicking HERE or by calling 01429 523330 during normal office hours. If you are booking a test, you must ensure that you have your own mobile phone, which you will need to bring with you to the testing centre because you will receive your test result by text. Because of the data protection laws, you can't use someone else's mobile phone.
The test is simple and quick - you will be given a swab and sent to a sample collection booth. You will be asked to take a swab of your tonsils (or where they would have been at the back of your throat) as well as one nostril. It’s simple to do and trained staff will be on hand to explain to you how to do it.
* COLLECT A FREE KIT TO TEST YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FOR COVID AT HOME - You can collect up to 2 packs of 7 tests - no booking is required - just drop in. The staff at the centre will advise you on how to use the testing kit safely and to avoid a false result and will happily take you through a test to make sure you know how to do it.
In both cases you will get your result by text within 24 hours, and in most cases within an hour. You will also be given advice on what to do if your test comes back positive.
THE TEST AND COLLECT CENTRE IS ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE COVID SYMPTOMS. YOU MUST NOT COME TO THE CENTRE IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE COVID SYMPTOMS, INCLUDING:
a high temperature.
a new, continuous cough.
a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.
If you have any COVID symptoms you must self-isolate and book a different test straight away at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
Why do I need to get tested regularly when the vaccine roll-out is progressing so well?
Alongside the national vaccine roll-out, regular testing is an essential part of the easing of restrictions, helping identify variants of the virus and stopping individual cases from becoming outbreaks. The Government is encouraging all adults to get tested twice a week - even after they have been vaccinated - to help us on the path back to normal life.
Particularly encouraged to get tested regularly are those people who come into a lot of direct contact with other people - for example taxi drivers, supermarket and other shop staff, tradespeople, takeaway staff, carers, social workers and nursery staff.
Craig Blundred, Hartlepool Borough Council's Director of Public Health, said: "Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus unwittingly. Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, and by making rapid tests available to everyone, more cases will be detected, breaking chains of transmission and saving lives.
"However, it’s important to remember that there's no single silver bullet in the fight against COVID-19 - we must all still continue to follow the current social distancing guidelines – hands, face, space, fresh air, and go for our vaccinations when called."
Some frequently asked questions
Should I come to the COVID Test and Collect Centre if I have any COVID symptoms?
No - you must not come to the centre if you have any of the COVID symptoms, including a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste. If you have any COVID symptoms you must self-isolate and book a different test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. The COVID Test and Collect Centre in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre is only for people who don't have any COVID symptoms.
Do I have to pay anything for the test or home testing kits?
No - they are free.
Is there anything I need to bring with me?
You'll be given full details on the booking page or when you call the booking number (see the introduction above for the link to the booking web page and the booking telephone number), but the most important thing to bring with you is a mobile phone as you will receive your test result by text. Because of the data protection laws, you can't use someone else's mobile phone.
If you have your NHS Number to hand when you come to the testing centre you will only have to register once with your full details, which will save you time at the testing centre if you later book subsequent tests. If you don’t know your NHS Number you can find it by clicking here.
What if I don't have a mobile phone?
Please speak to our booking team before you book on 01429 523330 during normal office hours.
Will I need to wear a face mask when I attend the testing centre?
Yes - unless you have a medical exemption you must attend wearing your face mask.
Can I park at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre?
Parking is available in the Council-run car parks around Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, many of which currently offer free parking for the first three hours. In those which are offering free parking, please ensure that you take a free ticket from the machine and display it in your vehicle.
If I have booked to get a test at the centre, can I come early?
No - please arrive at your allocated time - do not arrive early. We must maintain a regulated flow of people arriving at the testing centre.
Is there disabled access?
Yes - there is disabled access. If you have any particular requirements, please let us know in advance when booking so that we can make your visit as easy as possible.
Can I bring someone with me?
For social distancing reasons, we ask people to please attend their test appointment on their own. However, if you do need some personal support, such as help with mobility for example, you are welcome to bring with you a family member or carer, provided they are in your 'bubble.' However, you must not bring with you anyone who has any COVID symptoms.
Why is this testing only available to those aged 18 and over?
This is in accordance with Department of Health and Social Care rules. It's primarily due to issues of consent and the capacity to give consent.
What if I have any other questions?
Please call our team on 01429 523330 during normal office hours and they'll be happy to help.