Surge testing and additional vaccinations are launching in North Tyneside, following a rise in case numbers and growing concerns nationally around increased cases of the variant first identified in India.
COVID-19 cases in North Tyneside have risen from 22 to 53 per 100,000 over the last week and more cases of the variant, first identified in India, have been found in parts of the borough. There are currently 19 confirmed cases and it is likely that this number will increase.
From Saturday 22 May, the council will deploy two mobile testing units (MTUs) in North Shields and Wallsend.
From Saturday morning they will be open without an appointment between 10am and 4pm at Wallsend Forum, behind the Anson pub, and in North Shields town centre.
Residents and those who work or learn in North Tyneside are encouraged to make use of these PCR test sites, if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.
The guidance for anyone who does have symptoms of COVID-19 remains the same: stay at home, self-isolate and book a test online or by calling 119.
The existing test sites at The Parks Leisure Centre in North Shields and the Coronation Street car park in Wallsend should continue to only be used by those with symptoms.
This enhanced testing is in addition to lateral flow tests which the government encourage everyone to do twice a week.
The council and the local NHS is reminding residents that getting vaccinated is the best defence against COVID-19.
People over 50 and those with underlying health conditions who have had their first dose and not yet had their second will be contacted either by their GP practice or by the NHS National Booking Service with an offer to bring forward the date of their second dose.
Residents in this group should not contact their GP or the NHS and should wait to be contacted.