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Reducing the Risk of Covid for Families and Childcare Workers

Childminders and private nurseries can now be tested for Coronavirus following the decision by South Tyneside Council to offer them lateral flow tests.

The tests are used on people who exhibit no symptoms of Covid-19 and can quickly identify those who may have the virus and ensure they self-isolate.

Frontline staff as well as key partners, such as Northumbria Police, have already been offered the tests.

Although government plans to offer tests to nurseries later this month, the Council has decided to offer the tests to this sector now as it has been identified as a further way to slow the spread of the virus. The tests are being offered out-of-hours to fit in with their working responsibilities.

The opportunity has been welcomed by people working in this sector as another way to slow the spread of the virus alongside handwashing, social distancing and mask wearing.

Childminder Amanda Carr-Brown, who runs Amanda's Childcare from her home in South Shields, with her assistant Lauren Carr, has worked throughout the lockdown. She said: "Having access to the lateral flow tests every week at the Town Hall is giving us further help to continue providing care.

"The testing is key to helping us stay open as safely as possible and also provides additional reassurance to ourselves and our minding families, alongside all the other COVID secure approaches we have in place."

The out-of-hours testing offered by the Council will be every week until 30 March, subject to extension, by invitation only.

Councillor Anne Hetherington, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: "A high proportion of Covid cases are transmitted by people who do not have any symptoms. That is why these rapid turn-around tests can be beneficial as they are a simple way of identifying those people with the virus and asking them to self-isolate, thereby helping to reduce the spread of the virus.

"We recognise the vital role childminders and nurseries play in helping parents and carers continue to work. This additional practical support is another way of offering confidence and reassurance to a sector which continues to go above and beyond in these challenging times and to the parents who rely on their services."

Anyone who tests negative in a lateral flow test is reminded to continue to socially distance, wear a face covering, wash their hands and follow the guidance.

Residents are reminded that that if anyone has symptoms of Coronavirus, they should book a test through www.gov.uk or by calling 119. People will be given options on how to access a test including visiting one of the testing sites at Temple Park car park or Chuter Ede Community Association in South Shields or the old Jarrow Library site in Jarrow.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information

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