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Community surge testing

We are working with Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care to offer enhanced COVID-19 testing to residents living in some parts of Redbridge after two isolated, non-travel related cases of the South African variant of the virus were identified in the borough.  

From Friday 30 April, we will be carrying out enhanced COVID-19 testing for anyone living or working in these affected areas. The tests will then be sent for analysis at a laboratory so we can see if there are any more cases of this particular variant of the virus in the area.

The aim of the enhanced testing programme – known as surge testing – is to understand whether the South African variant of the virus has spread further in the community.

People living or working in the following areas will be encouraged to take a PCR test over the next two weeks starting from Friday 30 April:

  • Areas of the IG1 postcode covering the Cranbrook, Valentines and Ilford Town wards
  • Areas of the IG6 postcode covering the Aldborough, Barkingside, Fairlop and Fullwell wards
  • Small areas within the IG5 and IG7 postcodes (covering the Hainault and Chigwell areas within the Hainault ward)

Letters to those living within the enhanced testing programme areas are being sent by post from Redbridge Council during the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend. The letter will explain how to get tested and the support available.

The tests will be offered in two ways. Redbridge Council’s community testing team will be offering door-to-door PCR home testing in the affected areas for anyone 11+ regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.  The test will be delivered to front doors by the team wearing PPE and carrying a Redbridge Council ID.

People who do not have symptoms can get tested by visiting one of the following test sites:

  • Ken Aston Square (140 High Street, Barkingside, Ilford IG6 2EA from 9am to 3pm)
  • Mildmay Road Car Park (1 Mildmay Rd, Ilford, IG1 1HW from 8am to 8pm)
  • Gants Hill Library Car Park (Cranbrook Road, Ilford, IG2 6SX from 8am to 8pm.

Residents do not have to book, but may have to queue. Each test site is open seven days per week.

People will only need to take one test, but we urge every single person 11+ to take the test and, if they test positive, to self-isolate with everyone in their home to stop the spread of the virus.

Ian, Consultant of Public Health at Redbridge Council, explains in the video below what will be happening in the new surge testing area. 

 

 

 

Questions you may have

What areas are you testing?  

  • Areas of the IG1 postcode covering the Cranbrook, Valentines and Ilford Town wards
  • Areas of the IG6 postcode covering the Aldborough, Barkingside, Fairlop and Fullwell wards
  • Small areas within the IG5 and IG7 postcodes (covering the Hainault and Chigwell areas within the Hainault ward)

Details can be viewed on the map above. 

How can I get tested?

People who do not have symptoms can get tested by visiting testing sites at:

  • Ken Aston Square (140 High Street, Barkingside, Ilford IG6 2EA from 9am to 3pm)
  • Mildmay Road Car Park (1 Mildmay Rd, Ilford, IG1 1HW from 8am to 8pm)
  • Gants Hill Library Car Park (Cranbrook Road, Ilford, IG2 6SX from 8am to 8pm).

Residents do not have to book, but may have to queue. Each test site is open seven days per week.

Redbridge Council’s community testing team will also be offering door-to-door PCR home testing in the affected areas.

Will standard PCR tests identify this variant?

Yes.

Why aren’t you using community test sites/lateral flow 'rapid' tests?

Lateral flow is currently out of scope as we need PCR tests to carry out genomic sequencing.

How long will this last?

This targeted surge testing is planned for two weeks.

Should I take part in the localised testing programme if I tested positive (Lateral Flow or PCR) for COVID-19 recently?

The national guidance is not to re-test if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, unless you develop symptoms. This is because the PCR test is very sensitive and can pick up an old infection beyond the infectious period. However, if you wish to participate in the local testing programme and have a further positive result you will need to follow the advice given by Test and Trace.

We are in a nearby postcode, can we get tested?

We are focusing testing on those areas where we know we have confirmed cases of the variant. But anyone in the local area who is concerned of course can pick up a rapid test and get tested.

What if I have been in one of these areas recently?

Everyone should continue to follow the national guidance and book a PCR test if they develop symptoms.

Do I need to be tested/have regular tests if I have been in contact with people who live in this area?

No. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should isolate for 10 days and book a test as soon as possible. If you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case you should be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and should isolate for 10 days from the date you were last in contact with the positive case.

I'm an employer in one of the areas, should I keep my workforce home?

People should continue to follow the national government rules and remember ‘hands, face, space’. For those unable to work from home, please use one of the testing facilities above.

If I take regular lateral flow (rapid) tests, should I take part in local surge testing?

Yes. If you do not have symptoms and live or work in one of the eligible postcode areas you are strongly advised to take part. The localised testing programme allows public health agencies to carry out an important process called genomic sequencing which helps to monitor and understand the evolution of new COVID-19 variants and respond accordingly.

I have been vaccinated, do I still need to surge test?

Yes.

What about testing in schools? And will they close?

We are offering testing to everyone 11+ and over to those living and working in the areas specified above.

Do the current vaccines work against the variant originating in South Africa?

PHE are continuing efforts to understand the effect of the variants on vaccine efficacy and there is currently no evidence to suggest that vaccines will be ineffective.

What if I need information in another language?

Our door-to-door staff speak different languages including Urdu, Gujarati and Hindi and should be able to assist with the test. Staff will also have translated flyers from next week with information on surge testing and frequently asked questions in several languages.

How will I receive my results?

You'll usually get a text or email with your result when it's ready. It may take up to 3 days. Please don't call your GP as they will not have access to these results. Call the coronavirus testing call centre on 119 if you do not receive your result within 3 days.

Has the government guidance changed in these areas?

No. The same government guidance continue to apply in these areas. 

Is there any financial support for those who are required to self-isolate?

Yes. For anyone who tests positive and has to self-isolate, they may be eligible for a support grant of £500 from the government financial support available during self-isolation.

Is there any wellbeing support for those who are required to self-isolate?

Yes. We provide support and advice on our health and wellbeing page.

 

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