Best time to book Covid test appointment in Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough 'between 6pm and 8pm' say experts

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Our testing centres switched to appointment-only this week

Walk-in Covid centres in our towns have switched to an appointment-only system this week because of a national shortage of testing capacity, public health chiefs confirmed today.

Our Covid test centres in Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough had previously allowed people to attend without an appointment. They were among the best-used in the whole country.

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But that all changed this week with no notice, after labs began to struggle to process the tests. Some people said they'd been directed to test centres in Aberdeen and Liverpool after being unable to get a test in Corby.

Now, local health bosses have said that local appointments are available, and that people have the best chance of getting one if they try to book between 6pm and 9pm.

Speaking at this morning's Northamptonshire Covid Oversight and Engagement Board meeting, head of quality at Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, Sharon Wright, said: "We're remaining steady with our testing rates.

"Capacity in the system in laboratories is experiencing some problems nationally as well as locally.

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"Our message was that if you're concerned, do get a test. With the capacity issues, we really must move away from just being concerned to make sure that testing is available for people that really need it. and if you have symptoms then go forward and get tested."

Ms Wright said that more capacity would be available when a new lab in Loughborough comes online soon, and that the new regional testing centre at Kettering Conference Centre was going to open today.

She added: "Looking at the data nationally we are one of the highest areas in the country for testing."

A statement from the county's urgent communications hub said: "Due to a current national shortage of testing capacity, testing in Northamptonshire is now only available to people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

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"Although we are trying hard to protect the local testing capacity to ensure access for local residents, you may be directed to a local testing site outside of Northamptonshire if we exceed our local capacity.

"We continue to urge anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 to seek testing as soon as possible as the best possible way to ensure we continue to improve the local incidence rates.

"A test appointment must be booked by either calling 119 or online.

"Appointments for the following day come online between 6pm and 8pm, therefore this is the best time to go online to book an appointment.

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"We would like to thank everyone who has followed the guidance to isolate at home with the rest of their household and book a test if they are experiencing any symptoms, however mild, such as a new continuous cough, high temperature and/or loss or change in sense of smell or taste, or have come into contact with someone with coronavirus, to help contain the spread of the infection."

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