Almost 7,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the week up to 4th September, latest figures show.
The county’s pubic health team the rapidly increasing demand is in response to pupils returning to school and more people return to the workplace.
But, they added, some people have reported they have been unable to book a test at a local test centre, with a minority being advised to travel long distances to access testing.
In Penrith, the drive-through testing centre at the town’s rugby club closed last month as the club opted to reclaim the use of its site to boost business and social use. People were advised to go to a testing centre at Carlisle airport.
The team is working with local and national partners, it said, to increase both the number of public test centres and the overall number of tests available each day.
But, it said it was reminding people only to get tested if they have the specific COVID-19 symptoms of a high temperature, new persistent cough, loss of sense of taste or smell to reduce demand and ensure tests are available for those that need them.
Currently testing for the general public is available from the following locations:
- Walk-through coronavirus testing facility at the Castle Car Park, Devonshire Walk, in Carlisle is open 8am to 8pm every day.
- Drive-through coronavirus testing facility at Carlisle Lake District Airport.
- Mobile testing units available on different dates in Keswick and Kirkby Stephen and other places across Cumbria, based on local demand.
Full details of all local testing, including dates for mobile testing units, can be found at www.northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/covidtesting
Appointments can be booked at all sites via www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/
Work is also underway to secure additional fixed facilities in Cumbria’s main towns, the public health team said.
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s director of public health, said: “While testing capacity is increasing it hasn’t yet caught up with the big increase in demand caused by pupils going back to school and people heading back to the workplace.
“That’s why it’s really important that testing capacity isn’t taken up by people that don’t need to be tested.
“As we head into autumn colds, sore throats and runny noses will all become more common, but they are not a reason to get a COVID-19 test.
“People need to look out for one or more of the key symptoms – high temperature, new persistent cough or loss of sense of taste or smell – and only then get tested, or if advised to by a health professional.
“Nationally we are seeing a steady increase in the number of new cases each day.
“Some of that was to be expected as society opened back up again, but people must continue to follow the guidance to keep the infection rate at a manageable level.”