A new walk-through coronavirus testing facility has opened for those with symptoms to book appointments at Christ Church, Luton Road, Chatham.
The testing facility has opened as part of the government's UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for local communities.
Testing is only available for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test online or by calling 119. The government is committed to continue expanding the capacity of the network of UK test sites and laboratories to make it even easier to get tested and reduce the time it takes to receive test results.
The new site is situated so it is easily accessible without a car. Those being tested will be required to 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 while travelling to and from the testing centre.
Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through test site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
Testing at the new site started on Tuesday, 10 November with appointments made available each day.
The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history which has the capacity to process more than 500,000 tests a day and includes more than 600 sites across the UK, including 79 drive-through sites, 289 walk-through sites, 258 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and five Lighthouse laboratories.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them trace their contacts. This will help 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, asking 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.
Making it easier to get a test no matter where you live
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “To respond to the coronavirus, we have built a major testing and tracing system from scratch. We are constantly working to expand and improve it with new technologies and innovations so everyone with symptoms can get a test.
“New walk-in sites like this one makes it even easier to get a test no matter where you live. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, I urge you to book a test today and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted to protect others and stop the spread of the virus.”
Walk through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Walk through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test. This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand our testing network across the UK which is now has the capacity to process more than 500,000 tests a day. We will continue to expand capacity to improve test turnaround times and push forward testing innovations to make sure anyone who needs a test can get one.
“Please book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste, and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted.”
The testing centre is being operated in partnership with G4S and will offer self-administered tests.
It's vital that we all continue to play our part in reducing the spread of the virus
James Williams, Medway Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “I am pleased that another testing site has opened in Medway. We have a comprehensive testing programme in place across Kent and Medway and the more sites that are available, the easier it is for residents to book a test if they develop symptoms. It is vital that we all continue to play our part in reducing the spread of the virus. I would encourage residents to self isolate and book a test as quickly as possible if they develop symptoms.”
It has been inspiring to see the enthusiasm of our employees
Gordon Brockington, G4S Director said: “We are proud of our important role in setting up and managing this Covid-19 testing site, and other similar sites across the UK. It has been inspiring to see the enthusiasm of our employees to step up and support the government, our health services and the public during this crisis.”