Another five rapid-result coronavirus (COVID-19) testing sites for people who don’t have symptoms are opening in Kent, in addition to 14 centres already in operation.
The testing will find people who don’t currently have symptoms, who may be unknowingly spreading the virus in the community and the sites are part of a rolling programme to help reduce the rates of transmission in Kent.
In addition to sites already running across the county, people can now book for tests from today (12 January) using the link www.kent.gov.uk/symptomfreetest at the following venues (sites opening within the next week):
- Swanscombe Centre Craylands Ln, DA10 0LP (open from 15 Jan)
- Bat and Ball Centre, Cramptons Road Sevenoaks TN14 5DN (open from 15 Jan)
- The Dray, The Hop Farm, Maidstone Rd, Paddock Wood, Beltring, Tonbridge TN12 6PY (open from 16 Jan)
- Hawkinge Community Centre CT18 7FP (open from 16 Jan)
- Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ (open from 18 Jan).
All symptom free testing sites will be open daily from 9am to 7pm. Children aged five-years-old and over can also be booked to take the test but will need assistance at the site from a parent/carer. It is recommended that people are tested frequently, every two weeks if possible.
People booking tests should be advised that if possible, they will need a QR code app reader or the NHS app already installed on their mobile phone. Assistance is available at the sites for registration if needed.
Sites already operating include Halfway, Sheerness; Ramsgate Port; Northfleet Youth Club, Gravesend; Swanley Youth Club; Dover Discovery Centre; Folkestone Library; Eurogate Business Park, Ashford; Kent Show Ground, Detling; Kemsley Community Centre; The Centre, Birchington; Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury; Larkfied Library; Fairfield Leisure Centre, Dartford and Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells. The full list and addresses can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/symptomfreetest
Once all 19 are open, there will be capacity for over 17,000 tests across Kent per day. To date, 53,260 tests have been conducted so far with 526 positive cases identified – a positivity rate of 0.99 per cent – this means that these asymptomatic people now know to self-isolate which reduces the spread to others.
Speaking regarding the rollout, KCC Leader Roger Gough said: “I previously outlined four crucial actions that will help us get out of tier four restrictions – following the guidelines; symptom-free testing; contact tracing and enforcement. Rapid testing, combined with additional resources in contact tracing, gives us the opportunity to make significant strides in identifying and containing the virus across the county.”
He added: “The symptom-free testing sites are being set up using funding from central government to support local councils in tier 4 to help reduce rates of COVID-19 and we have also received support from the military. The opening of these sites has been a huge partnership effort between Kent County Council, central Government and the 12 district and borough councils. We are working together to do everything we can to help Kent out of this situation.”
Lt Col James Cackett said: “We are extremely pleased that the recruitment of a civilian workforce to support the fight against COVID-19 has received significant interest and allows our military personnel to establish further symptom-free testing which, in turn, increases the council’s ability to identify symptomless carriers and remove them from the contact chain.”
Kent County Council Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “Symptom-free testing sites will help people to come forward and book themselves regular tests so we can find those who may be unknowingly transmitting the virus either at home or at work. I would ask employers across the county to help with this by encouraging their staff to regularly attend for a test.
“Remember, up to 1 in 3 people may have COVID-19 without any symptoms at all and with this new strain that is more transmissible, we need to identify those people and encourage them to isolate so we break the chain of transmission.
“The message to everyone across Kent is to keep following the restrictions and stay at home if possible. It’s important to self-isolate, not only after receiving a positive test result but also while you wait for the results.”
To book a test and for more information go to www.kent.gov.uk/symptomfreetest
Residents attending this testing will undergo a lateral flow swab test and will receive their result within a couple of hours of attending the test by text or email. If they are positive, they will be told to self-isolate, follow the national guidance and they will be instructed to have a PCR test to confirm their positive result. If they are negative, they must still continue to observe social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public and regularly wash hands.
These sites are in addition to the regional and local testing sites for people who have symptoms. If you have symptoms you should NOT attend one of our symptom-free testing sites but instead book a PCR test https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test