The latest Covid-19 testing site closure has been announced.
Workington’s COVID-19 PCR testing site is the latest testing facility in Cumbria set to close as part of central government plans to close all free testing sites by the end of March 2022.
Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, Colin Cox, said: “Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the incredible COVID-19 testing teams who’ve worked at these sites throughout the pandemic.
“Cumbria will forever be grateful for the work you’ve done to help protect our communities.
“I’m sure for many the closure of testing sites will feel like the end of the pandemic, but that’s not the case, it’s just the next step in learning to live with COVID-19.
“The virus is still circulating, and new cases continue to be identified. Testing may still be a part of everyday life moving forward, we’ll just access it differently than we have before.
“It’s important to note that some COVID-19 testing sites will close earlier than the 31 March, but when we have confirmed dates for each site, we’ll update the public and our website accordingly so please keep an eye out for updates.
“Although the testing sites are set to close, it could be some weeks and months yet before all of the equipment at individual testing sites is removed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
“We remain in discussions with the DHSC about when this might happen but it’s a huge operation to clear everything away nationally, so please bear with them and us while sites are cleared.”
The Workington PCR testing site will close on Saturday March 19, with the mobile COVID-19 testing sites at Ambleside and Barrow-in-Furness having already been decommissioned on March7.
Earlier this month, central government announced plans to close all free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing sites for COVID-19 nationwide by Thursday March 31, with some closing earlier than that.
Everyone will still be able to access free COVID-19 testing until March31 and after April 1, free lateral flow tests (LFTs) and free PCR tests will no longer be widely available to the public or businesses.
There are some professional groups who will continue to receive access to free COVID-19 testing and these are likely to include the Social Care workforce and higher risk groups, such as those with weakened immune systems.
Clarity regarding which professional groups will continue to receive free COVID-19 testing has not yet been confirmed by Central Government but updates are expected soon.
Until 31 March, anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 can book a PCR test at a testing site or order a home postal testing kit. You can do this via the government website or by calling 119.
Anyone who wishes to access free lateral flow kits can still do so via the NHS website until 31 March.