Covid-19 swab tests for Tendring residents who do not have symptoms of the virus are being rolled out from next week in a joint Essex County Council and Department for Health and Social Care scheme.
From Monday (January 11) anyone without symptoms can pick up a free PCR test from Clacton Leisure Centre without an appointment. An initial batch of 5,000 tests has been sent to Tendring Council, and it is expected more will follow.
The tests are targeted at people without symptoms who cannot work from home – and their families – provided they live or work in the Tendring district. However others without symptoms will not be prevented from taking a test. The facility will be open from 9am-5pm weekdays, and 9am-12pm weekends, for people to collect and drop-off tests. People are reminded to observe social distancing and wear a mask while on the site.
The test involves a taking swab from the nose and mouth, which people then package up to return to the Vista Road centre to be couriered to a lab for analysis. People must register their details online, following the instructions provided with the test, and results are then sent to them using these details.
Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms – a high temperature, new or continuous cough, or a loss or change of taste or smell – or who is isolating should not go to the centre, but instead apply for a postal test or visit an established drive-thru testing site. People should also not have a test if they have previously tested positive via a PCR test in the last 12 weeks, as this can give a false result.
Lynda McWilliams, Tendring District Council's cabinet member for partnerships, said the increased testing will help prevent and reduce transmission of Covid-19 in the community.
“Around one in three people have coronavirus without symptoms, and could therefore be spreading the virus without knowing, so this testing is designed to identify these people and make sure they self-isolate,” she said.