Essex’s first rapid testing centre has opened giving people coronavirus results in around 30 minutes.
Essex County Council is inviting residents who live in the worst-affected areas of Basildon who don’t have symptoms to book coronavirus tests that offer results within half an hour.
Those living in the Fryerns, Pitsea, Vange, and Wickford areas of Basildon, where Covid-19 rates are highest, are the first in the borough and wider county to be offered this type of test – known as the Lateral Flow Test.
Basildon is currently the most infected district in the county, with the current infection rate at a worryingly high 347.2, and more than 650 new Covid-19 cases within a week, according to the latest figures.
The tests are specifically for people who do not have coronavirus symptoms.
The tests will be carried out at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon from Tuesday, December 8.
The fast response tests are available for any residents without symptoms to book tests between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.
Fryerns, Pitsea, Vange and Wickford residents who do not have symptoms and wish to book the 30 minute response tests can call:
01702 742172 or
Leaflets will also be distributed to these districts beginning this week inviting people to attend the tests, and people will be invited to book via the telephone lines.
Anyone with symptoms should book a test via the NHS Test and Trace App, or on the government’s website.
GP surgeries in Basildon will also be contacting residents from today to offer Lateral Flow testing. Essex Test and Trace are also sending people for Lateral Flow Tests.
Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex’s director of public health and wellbeing, said: “If you live in any of these four areas of Basildon, it is essential that you go for one of these new tests, even if you are well.
“Infection rates in Basildon are now among the highest in the country, and local NHS services are coming under strain as a result.
“We MUST ensure that the brilliant staff at Basildon Hospital can continue to work for everyone.
“Testing people who feel well will help identify the hidden cases in the community – people who may be unwittingly infecting others. If you test positive with one of the new fast tests, you will be asked to self-isolate, and take a further test to confirm the initial result.
“This will really help us double down on Covid-19 and through people self-isolating now, help everyone enjoy Christmas, as the self-isolation period for both identified new cases and their contacts will be up before Christmas.”
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