The first of three community testing centres opened at Middlesbrough Sports Village on Marton Road on Wednesday (Feb 10).
Health chiefs stress this testing programme is only for those not displaying symptoms - one in three people with Covid-19 do not show symptoms and will be unaware they may be spreading the deadly infection.
The Sports Village will be followed by similar centres at North Ormesby and Newport Community Hubs, with announcements to be made in due course.
Mark Adams, Joint Director of Public Health for South Tees, said: "Testing is one of the key tools we have to contain the spread of coronavirus while the vaccine programme is rolled out nationwide.
"If we can identify more people who are carrying the infection we can help to drive down transmission rates, and save lives.
"We are particularly encouraging those who can't work from home and are therefore more likely to come into contact with other people to book regular tests.
"It's also really important that those taking part continue to follow the national lockdown and public health advice, even if they test negative."
The guidance for those who test negative is crucial as the test used to provide a rapid result does not detect low levels of the virus.
Community testing aims to find people who are infectious, but don't have symptoms.
A negative result following a rapid test does not necessarily mean an individual doesn't have Covid-19.
Anyone testing negative must continue to follow all local restrictions and public health advice to protect themselves and others.
Tests are available to book now here: https://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/communitytesting People who book a test will be advised how to conduct it themselves, with results available in around an hour.
People taking part in community testing are encouraged to book two slots per week.
A number of tests will be available each day for people who haven't booked in advance, although booking is advised where possible.
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: "NHS Test and Trace continues to play a leading role in the fight against COVID-19.
"Increased community testing is a vital additional tool at our disposal to help identify those who are infected and infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease.
"The work of Middlesbrough Council and Public Health South Tees will be essential in driving down transmission rates.
"I urge all those living in areas where community testing is offered to come forward and get tested."
- The community Covid-19 testing centre at Middlesbrough Sports Village will operate from Wednesday to Sunday, 8am - 3pm. (Anyone unable to make an online booking should call the main switchboard on 01642 245432.)
All efforts to find people without symptoms work hand in hand with the existing free testing service for those with symptoms.
Anyone with symptoms - a new continuous cough, high temperate or loss/change to your sense of smell or taste - should self-isolate and book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
- For the latest local updates and information, visit middlesbrough.gov.uk/covid19
For information on local help and support, visit www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/helpboro
For advice for clinically extremely vulnerable residents call Middlesbrough Council's support line on 01642 729777
The latest advice from Government and Public Health England can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus