Covid-19 self-testing even more accessible
Additional Covid-19 self-test collection sites will be introduced across Essex next week and thanks to an agreement between Essex County Council (ECC) and partner councils, more residents will receive financial support if they test positive for the virus.
ECC recently announced that Covid-19 self-test kits were available for collection at over 20 libraries across Essex, with the aim of making asymptomatic testing more accessible and helping to prevent individuals from unknowingly spreading the virus.
14 more library collection sites will be launched this week, meaning each of the 12 districts in Essex will have three self-test community collection points. Full details about the new sites will be released on Friday.
In addition, to make it easier for anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 to self-isolate, financial support will be available to even more people, as the criteria widen. More detail and how to apply will be released tomorrow, Wednesday 14 April.
This new approach to testing will make it more convenient than ever for Essex residents who do not have symptoms to collect test kits, test themselves at home and ensure they have the support they need to self-isolate if they test positive.
The tests are quick and easy to do, however help is available to anybody that requires assistance. A dedicated helpline has been set up for anybody who is not sure what to do, how to register the test or how to upload the results. Anyone requiring support can call 03337 726 144.
With the rollout of the new self-test collection points across the county, walk-in and booked appointments at the existing temporary 12 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing centres in Essex will shortly no longer be available*. However, at least three library self-test collection points will be fully operational in each district before then.
Anyone requiring additional assistance will be supported and can book a PCR test at one of the many mobile testing units operating across Essex.
Dr Mike Gogarty, ECC’s Director of Public Health, said: “We understand that not everyone has the means or time to visit a testing centre on a regular basis but testing really is vital in stopping the spread of the virus. That is why we have introduced self-testing collection points, making it easier than ever for residents to introduce testing into their weekly routine.
"We know that residents are eager to take part in self-testing and by setting up convenient collection points within local communities, we can ensure they have regular access to testing kits to complete twice a week.
“As restrictions ease and people start to meet up with others outdoors, the need for people who aren’t showing symptoms to take part in regular testing is more vital than ever.
“If regular testing is not something you have considered previously and you are not already accessing self-tests in another way, I urge you to pick up test kits from your nearest community collection point, complete them regularly and help to keep your friends and family safe.”
Targeted groups, including the households and bubbles of school-aged children and businesses with more than 10 employees should continue to use the specific testing channels designed and already in place for them.
Any residents who are showing Covid-19 symptoms should continue to book a PCR Covid-19 test as normal.
Temporary LFD testing centres
*The final days that residents will be able to attend one of the temporary LFD testing centres for a booked or walk-in appointment are below:
• Colchester, Colchester leisure centre, Colchester Leisure World, Cowdray Ave, Colchester CO1 1YH – Monday 19 April
• Uttlesford, Saffron Walden ECL, 39 Audley Rd, Saffron Walden CB11 3HD – Tuesday 20 April
• Maldon, West Maldon Community Centre, Sunbury Way, Maldon CM9 6YH - Wednesday 21 April
• Brentwood, Nightingale Centre, Pastoral Way Brentwood Essex CM14 5GB - Thursday 22 April
• Chelmsford, Central Baptist Church, Victoria Rd S, Chelmsford CM1 1LN - Friday 23 April
• Tendring, Long Meadows Community Centre, Long Meadows, Harwich CO12 4US - Monday 26 April
• Braintree, Witham Town FC, Witham Town FC, Spa Rd, Witham, CM8 1UN - Tuesday 27 April
• Harlow, Civic Centre, Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, College Square, Harlow CM20 1WG - Wednesday 28 April
• Epping Forest, Theydon Bois Village Hall, Coppice Row CM16 7ER - Thursday 29 April
• Basildon, Towngate Theatre, St. Martins Square, Basildon SS14 1DL - Friday 30 April
• Rochford, Rayleigh MegaCentre, 7 Brook Rd, Rayleigh SS6 7UT - Tuesday 4 May
The library collection sites in Castle Point have been operational since Wednesday 7 April.