ASYMPTOMATIC residents who believe they may have coronavirus will be able to check as a new fast testing centre has opened.

The Tendring Testing Centre, located at the Long Meadows Community Centre, in Dovercourt, is now officially in operation and will be used to roll out lateral flow tests.

Unlike the polymerase chain reaction test, which has to be sent to a laboratory, the lateral flow test delivers results within 30 minutes.

The handheld kit uses either fluid from a nasal swab or saliva but, like a pregnancy test, produces a clear marking indicating whether or not someone has Covid-19.

The new centre, which could prove vital in the fight against Covid-19, is among the first of its kind and is specifically for people without symptoms but who are concerned they may have the virus.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Lynda McWilliams, Tendring councillor responsible for partnerships, said: “Testing is a really important strand of the response to Covid-19; by identifying people without symptoms who have the virus, and getting them to self-isolate, we can control the spread.

“The addition of a rapid testing site in Tendring is a welcome boost to the PCR swab collection tests we are offering at Clacton Leisure Centre and the existing mobile testing sites. I really encourage people to go and get tested.”

The region’s latest lateral flow test centre has been established in response to Tendring’s ever-rising infection rate.

In the past seven days, for example, latest data shows 1,853 cases were recorded in the district which makes for an infection rate of 1,264.3 per 100,000 people.

The arrival of the new facility also comes after a major incident was declared in Essex due to the county’s hospitals becoming overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex’s director of public health and wellbeing, said: “Infection rates in Tendring are rising rapidly and local NHS services are coming under significant strain as a result of the new variant of Covid-19.

“This additional testing centre will allow us to test even more people in the worst affected areas where we continue to see worryingly high rates.

“Testing people who feel well will help to identify the hidden cases in the community – people who may be unwittingly infecting others.”

Chelmsford Weekly News:

John Spence, Essex county councillor responsible for adults and health, believes targeted testing will pave a way out of the pandemic.

He said: “We are absolutely determined to do all we can to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in Essex,

“Targeted testing programmes are one part of how we will continue to tackle the virus.”

Tests are by appointment only and bookings should be made online at Alternatively, a test slot can be book by calling 0333 772 6144 between 8am and 8pm on any day of the week.