New coronavirus testing centre to open in South Hornchurch as Havering cases become more than in March

There are more reported cases in Havering than was recorded in March (when mass testing wasn't avail

There are more reported cases in Havering than was recorded in March (when mass testing wasn't available). Cherry Tree Lane car park. Picture: Havering Council - Credit: Havering Council

The government has agreed to a new walk-through coronavirus testing facility in the borough.

Cherry Tree Lane car park. Picture: Google

Cherry Tree Lane car park. Picture: Google - Credit: Google

The test centre is at the council-owned Cherry Tree Lane car park off Rainham Road in South Hornchurch and Havering Council expects the site to be in use for up to six months. The car park will be out of use from today, Friday, September 11, 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.

This is in addition to the government testing centre at the rear of the Town Hall in Romford every third day.

Testing at the new site will start on Saturday September 12 between 2pm and 5pm. On Sunday, the site will be available from 10am to 5pm and from Monday 14 September onwards it will be open seven days a week between 8am and 8pm.

The council is working with NHS Test and Trace to put a second site in the north of the borough later in September.

The location of the sites does not indicate that cases are increasing more in those areas as cases are increasing right across the borough.

How to get a test at the new sites

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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 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.

Havering Council’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.

“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.

“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.”

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