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New coronavirus testing site to open in South Hornchurch

The test centre will be in the Cherry Tree car park in South Hornchurch (credit: Google Maps)

A new Covid-19 testing facility is being opened in Havering to make it easier for the borough’s residents to get a test.

Havering Council says the walk-in centre will be in the Cherry Tree Lane car park, in South Hornchurch and could be used for up to six months.

Testing will begin tomorrow between 2-5pm, with further availability on Sunday between 10am-5pm. 

After that, it will be open seven days a week between 8am-8pm.

There are also plans for a second site to be opened in the north of Havering later in September.

In a statement today, Havering Council said: “Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute. Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Results should be back by the next day after testing.

“Residents in need of a test can also walk in for a test without an appointment, but there is no guarantee they’ll be seen if the site is busy that day, so booking is best. Residents who walk in without an appointment will also need to bring a smart phone with them so they can register when they arrive.

“The site is easily accessible without a car. Those being tested must follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre).

“Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

“Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.”

The opening of a new test centre coincides with a rise in cases in Havering.

In the week ending Friday 14 August, there were 15 confirmed cases. That rose in each of the next three weeks, with 54 people testing positive in the seven days up to Friday, 4 September.

Havering Council says the borough is now above the average for both Greater London and England.

Meanwhile, the council’s #DoingMyBit campaign is continuing, to encourage local people to help stop the spread of the virus.

The borough’s Director of Public Health, Mark Ansell, said: “This is now urgent. New COVID-19 cases in Havering are going up and will continue to do so if we don’t take action now. If we cannot bring down those numbers, vulnerable people will be at risk of serious illness and death and more severe restrictions will be necessary, including the prospect of ‘lockdowns’, perhaps as soon as October.

Mark Ansell, the Director of Public Health for Havering (credit: Havering Council)

“This is serious, this is real and it is happening now. Nobody wants to see further restrictions on life in Havering and we are doing absolutely everything within our power to avoid that happening.

“Follow the guidance on washing hands, social distancing, and wearing masks. You must get a test if you experience even mild symptoms of a high temperature, new continuous cough, or loss of sense of taste or smell.

“If there is any good news, it is that we are not seeing more people becoming desperately ill, but that could change if we don’t get those new case numbers down quickly.

“It’s up to us all to protect our families, friends, and neighbours and to do our bit to keep Havering safe.”

The opening of the new test centre in Cherry Tree Lane means that the car park is now out of use for as long as the site is needed.

Residents who need to access parking to use local shops in South Hornchurch can use the limited number of spaces at the rear of South Hornchurch library, off Nelson Road.

Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, said: “This is a crucial moment in our collective efforts to control the spread of the virus in Havering and to keep ourselves and those we love safe. Even if you don’t feel worried about the health risks of the virus on you, you could unwittingly be passing COVID-19 on to parents, grandparents, and other people who are at far greater risk of dying or becoming seriously ill from the virus than you are. Don’t take the risk of that being on your conscience.

“Our cases – like those in many other places across the country including nearby boroughs – are increasing. Our actions have included asking the Government for more testing facilities and it’s good news that our request for more testing in Havering means a site in South Hornchurch will be open for use from this weekend and we are planning for a further site in Harold Hill to open in coming weeks.

“Wear face coverings when being tested and if you cannot wear a face covering to go to the site, you will need to ask for a home test. Don’t travel to the sites by public transport or taxi.

“Throughout this crisis Havering has shown so much resilience, civic pride and community spirit. I know we can do it again. We must do everything possible to avoid the impact of more restrictions which could damage our high streets and local businesses, stop us seeing friends and family and put our children’s education at risk again. Let’s all do our bit to keep this virus at bay in our borough.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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