Residents and workers in CM13 area of Brentwood advised to get tested following identification of a South African Covid-19 case
We are beginning surge testing (additional community testing for people who do not have any Covid-19 symptoms) in the CM13 area of Brentwood. This is on the advice of Public Health England. This follows the identification of a single case of the South African variant of Covid-19. Everyone who lives or works in any CM13 postcode is being advised to get a Covid-19 test.
The testing will help us understand and limit any potential spread of the new variant within the local community. It is an approach that has successfully been used in other parts of the country to help supress the South African variant. We are working closely with Public Health England, NHS Test and Trace and Brentwood Borough Council to increase testing capacity in the area.
Every person aged 16 and over who lives or works in CM13 should get a Covid-19 test as soon as possible. There are different ways to get tested, and every household in the area will receive a letter this week explaining where and when they can get a test.
How to get a test if you live or work in CM13
We are asking everyone who lives or works in CM13 to have one test, unless they have had a positive Covid-19 result in the last 90 days or they are currently showing symptoms. Children aged up to 15 do not need to have a test.
Young people aged between 16-18 will need to have the test done by a parent or guardian, whether they get tested at a mobile testing unit or at home.
If you have Covid-19 symptoms and have not yet taken a test, you should book a test on Gov.uk or via the NHS COVID-19 app.
Book a test at a local mobile testing unit
You can book a test at a mobile testing unit on Gov.uk.
You will need to:
- choose the mobile testing site you want to visit
- answer ‘Yes’ when asked ‘Is the person who needs a test part of a trial or government project?’
- select ‘Taking part in community testing’.
You can book your test at one of four mobile testing units:
- Shenfield High School car park, Alexander Lane, Shenfield, Brentwood, CM15 8QD
- Thorndon Country Park (south car park), A128 Brentwood Road, West Horndon, Brentwood, CM13 3L
- Adult Community Learning car park, Poplar Drive, Hutton, Brentwood, CM13 1BD (Please note there is no parking available at this site)
- The Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, CM15 9NN
All four mobile testing units are open from 9am to 3pm, 7 days per week.
Pick up a home testing kit
If you would prefer to do your test at home, you can collect a testing kit from Monday 22 February. Testing kits can be collected from the car park of Adult Community Learning, Poplar Drive, Hutton, Brentwood, CM13 1BD.
You do not need to book an appointment to pick up a home test.
When you get home, follow the instructions in the testing kit. You must return the completed test to Adult Community Learning Brentwood as soon as possible.
You can pick up and return a test between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, or 8am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Please note there is no parking available at this site.
If you cannot visit a testing unit or collect a test
If you cannot visit a testing unit or pick up a home testing kit, we will contact you. A team of volunteers will be knocking on doors in the area to offer home testing kits to those who cannot leave home. The volunteers will be easily identifiable and will never ask for payment or personal details.
After your test
In most cases, you will get your test result by email or text within 48 hours of completing or returning your test. It can take longer in some cases.
If you test positive, you must self-isolate immediately. You must also self-isolate if you develop symptoms or are told you are a contact of a positive case by NHS Test and Trace at any time.
You can apply for financial self-isolation support if you are unable to work.
If you test negative, you must continue to follow Covid-19 guidance around hands, face, space.
“Even if you are feeling well, I would urge everyone to play their part to keep their community safe”
Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health, said: “Testing is an integral part of our Covid-19 response in Essex. It is vital that anyone over 16 and living or working in CM13 of Brentwood gets tested so we can better understand and suppress any further spread of the South African variant.
“We know this variant is highly transmissible and so it is important to break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible, which is the aim of surge testing. The quickest way of doing this is for individuals who test positive to self-isolate immediately.
“Do not be alarmed, but even if you are feeling well, I would urge everyone to play their part to keep their community safe. If you receive a letter please book a Covid-19 test as soon as possible.”
“This precautionary measure will provide us with valuable insights about any potential spread”
Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “We absolutely do not want people in this area to be concerned about the rolling out of surge testing. This approach is part of a national routine response to the emergence of new variants that cannot be linked to foreign travel or contact with people who have been abroad.
“This is a very much a precautionary measure which has been carried out in other areas of the country. It will provide us with valuable insights about any potential spread of this particular variant and help us to suppress it.”
For more information, support and advice, visit the coronavirus hub.
Find more information about the surge testing approach for new Covid-19 variants on Gov.uk.
How many cases of the South African variant have been identified?
There has been just one case of the South African variant found in the CM13 area of Brentwood. As far as we know, it has not spread any further.
Where did this variant originate from in the area?
We do not know how the individual contracted the South African variant, but it is not linked to international travel.
Will additional Covid-19 restrictions be introduced in the area?
No, the area will remain under the current national restrictions.
Is the South African variant more dangerous than other variants?
No, there is no evidence to show it is more dangerous. However, it is more transmissible. It is passed from person to person more easily, which is why we need to do targeted testing and prevent it from spreading.
Do I have to take part in the surge testing?
It is not compulsory but we strongly encourage you to take part if you live or work in CM13.
The only people who do not need to take part are: children aged 15 or under; people who have tested positive in the last 90 days; people who currently have symptoms (but they should still book a test through Gov.uk).
Do I have to take part if I have had the Covid-19 vaccine?
Yes. While the vaccine will help prevent you from getting seriously ill, it is not known whether it prevents transmission. This means you could still carry the South African variant and pass it to others.
Is it safe to visit a testing centre or pick up a test?
Yes, we have increased testing capacity and created designated pick-up and drop-off points for those who want home testing kits. The new capacity will safely meet the level of demand.