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Coronavirus (COVID-19)
View the latest COVID-19 information and advice, including details of the current national lockdown and service updates

Local COVID-19 testing

The two main types of Covid-19 testing are:

The most accurate test is the test used for people with symptoms.

Local testing for people with symptoms

The NHS test and trace service ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus.

It helps trace recent close contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

You can play your part to protect your friends and family and help safely get life back to normal.

If you have symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and get a test. Book your test through the NHS website or by calling 119.

Local testing sites in Gateshead

To support the Government's drive to improve testing for communities, there are now local test sites in Gateshead. Local test sites are in place for between three to six months, depending on demand.

The sites are operated on behalf of the Government's Department of Health and Social Care. The council is not involved in the operation of the sites and you cannot book through the council.

You must arrange an appointment on the NHS website or by calling 119.

LocationOpening timesDetails
Blaydon Leisure Centre
Shibdon Road
Blaydon on Tyne
NE21 5NW
8am to 8pm, seven days a week.Walk-through site. Parking is available on site.

Wirralshir car park (opposite the medical centre)
Leam Lane
NE10 8DX

8am to 8pm, seven days a week.Walk-through site. Parking is available on site.

Gateshead Central Library car park
Prince Consort Road

8am to 8pm, seven days a weekWalk-through site. Parking is available on site or at the neighbouring Gateshead Leisure Centre car park.

When to get tested

Testing is only available for those either with coronavirus symptoms - a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste - or those who have been asked to get tested by a doctor, public health professional or by their local council.

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test on the NHS website or by calling 119.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you must get a test. If you don't have symptoms, don't get a test. We all need to play our part to protect the NHS Test and Trace service for those who really need it.

You should not get tested if you have returned from abroad or are about to travel, you are returning to the workplace, you have been in contact with a confirmed case or if another member of your household has symptoms. You may be advised to isolate if you have been in contact with a confirmed case but you should only get a test if you have symptoms. 

Getting to the site

If you are attending a site for a COVID-19 test, it is essential you do not use taxis or public transport to get there. Walking or cycling is recommended if you are unable to drive. Be sure to wash your hands before you leave the house and avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily on your way. You should also wear a face covering at all times. When you get to the site you must park and walk to the test site. Once you have had your test go straight home again.

What happens at a test

If you attend a walk-through testing site you will be asked to confirm your identity on arrival. You will then be issued with a test kit and directed to a testing booth, where you will be provided with guidance to self-administer a swab test, taking swabs from both the nose and mouth. Testing slots are 20 minutes.

After safely completing the test, a testing assistant will advise how to register your test online and exit the site. You will receive your results the next day.

Safety on site

All sites have detailed standard operating procedures which have been signed off by Public Health England. This includes:

  • Social distancing measures
    Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout.
  • Personal Protective Equipment on site 
  • Cleaning regime
    There is a strict cleaning regime for the whole site which means that facilities are cleaned multiple times a day to ensure very high standards of hygiene. Waste is removed on a regular basis. 
  • Designated areas
    The testing areas are segregated from all other areas. All efforts have been made to reduce the disturbances to local communities and only operational staff will be in the designated area of the testing site. 


Lateral flow testing for people without symptoms

Targeted community testing (lateral flow testing) can be used to test people without symptoms. The results are available within half an hour without the need for laboratory processing. These tests are not as accurate as the tests available for people with symptoms and some people who have Covid-19 will receive a negative result in error.

We know that up to one in four people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but that does not mean they are not infectious. So, these tests are trying to find people who may have no symptoms but are carrying the virus.

The Government is sending out supplies of lateral flow tests to care homes which will allow them to screen visitors who are coming into those settings. However, as the tests are not 100% accurate, visitors will still need to wear PPE to make sure that they protect their loved ones.

If the care home has had an outbreak of Covid-19 visitors will not be allowed into the premises until there have been no further cases for 28 days. The management of visitor testing lies with the care home manager who will decide whether visiting can be allowed and what form it will take.

It has also been announced that lateral flow testing will be provided in secondary schools from January 2021. Plans to set up that testing are being discussed and it is the school's responsibility to deliver those tests.

Lateral flow testing will also be offered to frontline council staff who have to go into the homes of vulnerable people in the community and staff whose work means that they are at higher infection risk as they have to travel together in vehicles for example Care Call, refuse services, home adaptations and repairs.

Lateral flow testing is a snapshot of potential infection at a point in time.

Those who test negative must continue to follow the guidelines on social distancing, mixing with other households, hand hygiene and wearing a face covering. A negative test not prove that an individual is completely safe. A person could pick up the virus or display symptoms within hours of taking a test. Therefore, these tests are only effective if taken regularly.

Those who test positive during a lateral flow test be asked to book an appointment at one of our local testing sites to undertake a PCR test to validate the result.

We are unable to offer wider Lateral Flow testing to the public at this time as we are targeting our asymptomatic testing resource for staff teams who are working with the most vulnerable residents in the community.

If you have symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and get a test. Book your test through the NHS website or by calling 119.

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