How to get a coronavirus test in Durham

A new walk-in site has opened in Durham city centre


As the North-East of England is currently one of the worst-affected areas in England for Coronavirus, and with the student population now having returned, Durham County Council has recently put a permanent Covid-19 testing site within Durham itself.

On Thursday 8th October, a new test centre opened in Durham City, at Territorial Lane car park. It will be open seven days a week, from 8:00am-8:00pm, though it is pedestrian access only. Shelter will be provided for those being tested. Results are given the next day, and there is additional support provided for those in vulnerable groups or with disabilities.

Due to the lack of onsite parking, those with a car are encouraged to go to another test site, the nearest drive through centre currently being the Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) at Howlands Car Park by Josephine Butler. The centre is open to both students and members of the general public.

However, for all of these sites you have to book an appointment before going and getting tested, this can be done through the government website. The university will not make test appointments on a student’s behalf.

The current form of testing is a swab inside of the nose and at the back of the throat with a long cotton bud and can be easily self-administered. Tests are to be taken if you are showing any of the three main symptoms of coronavirus: A high temperature, a continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell.

A test can only be administered if it is within the first eight days of showing symptoms. If you are within the first seven days of displaying symptoms, you can either go to a test site or order a home test kit (if you order a test kit on day seven you must do this before 3:00PM). However, if it is day eight of showing symptoms and you have not yet been tested, you can only go to a test site. Travelling to and from test centres via public transport is advised against.

You can book an appointment or order a home test kit here. You should only get a test if you have been asked to (e.g. through the Test and Trace system), or if you are displaying symptoms.

Furthermore, if you’re getting a test you must self-isolate for ten days, or until the test comes back negative. Anyone you live with, as well as those in your ‘support bubble’, must also self-isolate for fourteen days. If you are unable to get a test, you must still self-isolate.

The main take away here is if you start displaying symptoms or have been told to get a test: do so as soon as possible, and stay at home.

More information and helplines are available here.