Rapid community COVID testing ramps up in Havering

Two extra rapid community testing sites have opened across Havering this week, offering COVID-19 tests to anybody who cannot work from home.

The new sites, based in Gidea Park and South Hornchurch libraries, are restricted to those who are not showing any COVID symptoms, but have to leave their homes to go to work.

This includes tradespeople, those working in a supermarket or other essential shop, estate agents, as well as drivers, nursery staff or childminders.

There are now five community testing sites in Havering. In addition to the new sites, rapid community tests can be booked at Elm Park, Harold Wood and Collier Row libraries via the Havering Council website.

Opening hours have also increased with each site now open from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm Saturday and Sunday.

Around one in three people with COVID-19 show no symptoms and do not know they are infected.  Without knowing it, they can pass on the infection to others.

Community testing uses lateral flow tests (LFTs), which produce a result within an hour and help to break the chain of transmission.

Anyone eligible for a rapid test should be tested twice per week when they are leaving their home to work.  Even if you receive a negative result, you must carefully follow social distancing rules and remember “hands, face, space”.

Havering Council is asking employers to encourage employees who cannot work from home to book twice-weekly rapid community tests.

Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, said: “Rapid community testing is a key tool in our fight against COVID-19. With one in three people with COVID not showing any symptoms, it is vital that people who are still leaving the house for work get tested regularly.

“The whole thing takes a maximum of 10 minutes if you book in advance, so there’s no reason for those who cannot work from home to not get a rapid test.”

To book a test, or for more information, please visit – www.havering.gov.uk/covid19testing.

DO NOT visit a rapid community testing site if you have symptoms. If you are showing symptoms, you should isolate immediately and book a symptomatic test by visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, or calling 119.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]