Testing is a key part of the national COVID-19 response.
Page contents (click on section you wish to visit):
- Testing if you have symptoms
- Testing if you do not have symptoms
- Care home test kits
- Additional NHS testing (North Essex and Suffolk)
- Additional NHS Testing (Mid and South Essex)
- Testing scam warning
Anyone who lives in Essex who has symptoms of coronavirus can now get tested.
You can book a test on the NHS website or call 119.
Depending on availability, you may be offered a test at:
- a local mobile testing site. Locations vary each week. Check current locations.
- or one of the national testing centres, in Stansted or Ipswich
A mobile testing site is a unit mobilised by the Ministry of Defence. These are particularly useful for those who cannot easily access the testing facility at Copdock (Ipswich).
Essex County Council has a fast testing centre for those who DO NOT have symptoms of Covid-19.
The centre is at Long Meadows Community Centre, Long Meadows, Dovercourt, CO12 4US, and is for Tendring residents.
Tests, which give results in around 30 minutes, are by appointment only and bookings should be made online via the Essex County Council website.
Booking online should be the quickest and most effective option for residents seeking a Lateral Flow Test, but if you're not able to book using the online form you can call 0333 772 6144 to arrange an appointment. Lines are open from 8am to 8pm, every day including weekends. You can also email: email@example.com and a member of staff will contact you to arrange an appointment.
Tests give results in around 30 minutes. If you test positive, you must self-isolate and request a PCR test as if you have symptoms.
This scheme will be discontinued when current stocks run out, due to a change in national approach to testing. Read more about that on our news page.
Tendring District Council is supporting testing capacity in the area by handing out swab testing (PCR) kits from Monday 11 January 2021.
The programme’s aim is to help prevent and reduce spread of Covid-19 in the community by increasing the number of people who are asymptomatic (don’t have symptoms) tested; particularly those who cannot work from home.
Around 1 in 3 people have coronavirus without symptoms so could be spreading the virus without knowing, so this testing is designed to identify these people and make sure they self-isolate.
Community testing means anyone can get a test and play their part in keeping others safe.
Tests can be collected from Clacton Leisure Centre, Vista Road, Clacton, CO15 6DB:
- Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
- Saturday to Sunday 9am to 12pm
The test involves a swab from the nose and mouth, which is done by you not on site, then the completed swab is dropped back at Clacton Leisure Centre. No physical interaction will be required when dropping off the test.
They will then be couriered to a lab from Monday to Thursday for analysis.
You should get results two days after the home test sample is collected, however due to the volume of tests this may take longer (up to five days). Results will be by email and text to the details provided when registering online.
Please be aware that the test cannot be carried out on site, and must be taken away to ensure that we can manage the process safely and support as many of our residents as possible.
You do not need to book an appointment, just turn up when the centre is open.
Please follow the instructions within the test kit on how to register your test online and how to package once the test is done. Anyone who does not register will not receive their test results. When registering, scroll past the section asking for order ID numbers and select ‘register your kit in another way’. Then complete the steps.
For those without internet access, a carer or support bubble member can register on their behalf, visit a testing centre or call NHS 111 to discuss what options are available to them.
Please do not attend this site if you have any coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to isolate. If this is the case, refer to the instructions above.
Frequently Asked Questions on Community Testing
Is this classed as essential travel under lockdown restrictions?
It is still important to continue to offer testing for people without Covid-19 symptoms during lockdown, to identify and isolate positive cases, as we know around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms. This both helps control the spread of the virus, and enables key workers to help keep essential services open.
Why are you doing this now during lockdown?
This is just one way people can get tested and is part of the mass testing programme. We have been working with Essex County Council on setting this up prior to Christmas.
So do I still go to work as normal while I wait for the results? My son is now at home and my daughter furloughed but I am a key worker. If it takes three days to get a result what am I supposed to do in that time?
Yes, you can continue to work. These tests are for people without symptoms only and you only should self-isolate if you have symptoms, or have been identified as a close contact of a positive case (for the full reasons outlined by the NHS visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/when-to-self-isolate-and-what-to-do/). If your test result comes back positive, you will then need to self-isolate as per NHS guidance.
Why are you not making them available outside of Clacton?
This is just one way people can obtain a test. Mass testing is being led by Department of Health and Social Care and we are working with them and Essex County Council on arranging mass testing elsewhere in our district too, and more information will be available on this soon.
Can I reserve tests for a family of five?
There's no need to reserve tests as we have a good supply. You can take tests for other members of your household or support bubble.
Is the drop off box available just in the stated hours?
Yes it is. The courier is at midday so if you drop back your completed test before noon, it will be sent off that day with the exception of Friday-Sunday as the courier is only Monday to Thursday.
Visit GOV.UK to find out who can apply and how to apply for care home test kits.
Who is eligible?
NHS workers and their households who are showing symptoms:
West Suffolk Hospital: Request a test online
Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals: Request a test online
Who is eligible?
Essential clinical and non-clinical staff, including those working in primary care, community and mental health services, hospices, local authorities, care homes, domiciliary care and volunteers with symptoms:
Basildon, Southend or Chelmsford venues: Speak to your line manager who can provide access to an appointment.
For more information, visit the Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) website.
If you’re unable to visit a test centre
You may be able to book a home test on GOV.UK if you meet the eligibility criteria.
We have put together some information to help you avoid being caught out by testing scams: Assist with Track and Trace Information