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Following the Government’s announcement of another lockdown it might seem strange that we are still being encouraged to get tested, especially when we don’t have symptoms.
After all, if we aren’t leaving our homes then why do we need to? Except we are going out; aside from those shielding for medical reasons or isolating. We’re shopping at the supermarkets, the local corner shop, picking up prescriptions, exercising, walking the dog and taking the children out on their scooters to burn off some energy.
Now more than ever we need to work as a community and protect one another. It is thought at least 1 in 3 people could be asymptomatic, which means they do not show any of the known symptoms of COVID-19, such as a new continuous cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell, and could unknowingly pass the virus on.
Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for adult social care and health at Southend Council, said: “This all comes down to community responsibility and looking out for everyone, not just our immediate family and friends. We are all in this together and the only way we will get through is if we look out for one another.
“By getting tested even when you don’t have symptoms, you are making sure you are not carrying the virus and unknowingly passing it on to other people when you visit the supermarket, go to the pharmacy or pass them during your daily exercise or to other people in your bubble.”
It is also especially important for those who are attending a workplace, school or nursery setting to get tested regularly to stop the spread of the virus.
Lee Pinchback, headteacher at Fairways Primary School, said: “The opening of the lateral flow device rapid testing site at St Aidan’s is very much welcomed as it is now recognized that around 1 in 3 people have coronavirus (COVID-19) without displaying any symptoms.
“I would encourage everyone in our school community and the surrounding area to book regular tests now that this facility has been set up, especially if they have to leave home for essential reasons. The expansion of asymptomatic testing in Southend will identify more positive cases of COVID-19 and ensure those who are infected isolate, protecting those who cannot work from home and our vital services.”
Joanne Cooper spent last week working at the St Aidan’s testing site in Leigh-on-Sea. She explained how there are four areas for people coming for tests; reception, registration, swabbing and processing.
She said: “People get their results within one hour and we are there to support and guide people the entire way. It is a safe site, with social distancing in place, thorough cleaning processes and a one-way system.
“I’ve spoken to quite a few people while I’ve been helping them register and their reasons for the test is normally for work or school and I’ve helped lots of older couples who tend to come in together. I also had one person attend because they wanted to protect their mum who was shielding but needed a lift to the doctors to get her vaccine.
“As a trained microbiologist I think it is really important people are tested because the more data we have about the virus, the more we understand, the more chance there is to beat it. Plus by getting tested, you are protecting yourself, the people you love and the wider community.”
For trusted information about Coronavirus, please visit: www.southend.gov.uk/coronavirus