Jack Brooke-Battersby
By Jack Brooke-Battersby

Senior Staff Writer

4 February 2021

| | 4 min read


Council testing programme opened up to key workers in Newcastle

A Newcastle City Council-run testing programme is being opened up to the community to provide asymptomatic testing to key workers across the city and help prevent transmission of Covid-19. 

Key workers encouraged to participate in asymptomatic testing
Key workers encouraged to participate in asymptomatic testing

Newcastle City Council launched a facility using Lateral Flow Devices in the Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall on Monday January 25, offering testing to key workers in critical frontline council services. 

With that site now operational and two more facilities in the east and west of Newcastle in development, all key workers in the city are now being invited to access testing provided by the local authority if they do not have access to other asymptomatic testing programmes through their workplace. 

Asymptomatic testing will help to identify individuals who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but are potentially infectious – this will help to reduce the risk of transmission and outbreaks and therefore the continuity of critical services and organisations.   

Cllr Irim Ali, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Public Health, said: “It was always our intention to expand the offer of our asymptomatic testing provision once we were up and running and able to increase capacity. 

“With two additional sites set to come on stream in the coming weeks, we will soon be able to process a significant number of tests which we want to offer to those key workers doing their bit to keep Newcastle moving during this lockdown period. 

“We’re pleased to be able to offer testing to the community to support the continuity of key services, industries and businesses.” 

Lateral Flow Device tests will be available to key workers in Newcastle who cannot carry out their role from home. Anybody who is able to work from home should remain at home and not seek appointments for asymptomatic tests.  

Access is strictly by appointment only, which can be booked here. Following a change in regulations that came into effect in January, anyone who returns a positive Lateral Flow Device test at the site will be required to self-isolate, be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, and will have access to self-isolation support payments subject to eligibility. 

Strict measures are in place to allow for social distancing and best hygiene practices within the site to protect visitors, operators, and other staff. Anyone attending an appointment at the Banqueting Hall will be able to park free of charge at the Civic Centre surface car park. Access to the testing facility is to be made through the entrance beneath the council chamber and visitors should follow instructions of staff upon arrival. Details of accessing the additional sites will be shared prior to testing commencing at those locations. 

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should not participate in asymptomatic testing and should instead book a PCR test at one the fixed testing locations through the Government website. If you do have a high temperature, a new or continuous cough, or a loss or change to your senses of taste or smell, book a test through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test  

Asymptomatic testing does not remove or replace the need to maintain COVID-secure workplaces and practice and the need for everyone to continue with hygiene and social distancing measures – Hands, Face, Space.   

More information about Newcastle City Council’s asymptomatic testing programme is available here.