Two Covid swab kit sites open in Uttlesford

Councillor Petrina Lees

Councillor Petrina Lees of Uttlesford District Council - Credit: Residents for Uttlesford (R4U)

Two community sites offering free swab kits for people without Covid-19 symptoms open today in Uttlesford (Wednesday January 13).

These sites are being set up in every district or borough in Essex. Uttlesford is the only district with two.

The tests are available for anyone who lives or works in Uttlesford. They are particularly targeted at key workers, those who have informal caring roles and those who cannot work from home, although no-one will be prevented from taking a test.

The free PCR swab test (polymerise chain reaction) involves a long cotton bud which is used to take a swab inside your nose and the back of your throat.

It can be collected from Turpin’s Indoor Bowling Club in Saffron Walden or the Rowena Davey Centre in Great Dunmow.

The test is carried out at home, registered online, and dropped back to the same centre. It will then be sent off for processing. No appointment is needed.

The sites are being organised as part of a joint programme with Essex County Council and the Department for Health and Social Care.

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Councillor Petrina Lees, Uttlesford District Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for housing and health, said: “Around one in three people with the virus have no symptoms, so could be spreading it without knowing. The PCR testing programme is designed to identify these people so they can self-isolate.

“Community testing means anyone can get a test and play their part in keeping others safe. The more people we can test, the better we can fight the virus in our local area.”

The district's two PCR sites will initially be open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with opening hours initially in line with staff availability. People must stick to social distancing rules and wear a mask while on site.

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 must apply online for a postal test or an appointment at an established drive-through testing site.

People should 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.