New local covid 19 test centre for Bexleyheath
A new local coronavirus testing facility is to open this week (1 October) at 221 Erith Road, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing availability.
Once fully up and running the new site, run by Deloitte for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), will be open from 8am to 8pm. Appointments will be made available each day, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
The Mayoress of Bexley, Christine Hunt, a theatre nurse based at Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup, together with Bexley’s Director of Public Health, Anjan Ghosh, visited the site on Wednesday (30 September) the first ‘pilot’ day to see how it will operate going forward.
Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, should book a test online. It is vital that only people with symptoms should get a test.
Anyone attending an appointment the centre will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely. Extra support is available for those in vulnerable groups and people with disabilities when they book their appointment.
Other people in an individual’s household should not get a test unless they also have any of the three symptoms listed above. However, all members of the household need to self-isolate while waiting for the test result.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) but cannot get a test within five days of your symptoms first developing, you must protect yourself and others by self-isolating for 14 days.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE said:
“We have campaigned for extra testing opportunities for local people and as such I’m delighted to welcome this new site to the borough.”
“We do need to continue to make it clear to everyone that you should only get a test if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Having tests ‘just in case’, before holidays or for work purposes, is not allowed at these centres. These sites are for people who have genuine symptoms who may then need to isolate or seek further medical advice.”
Mayoress of Bexley, Christine Hunt said; “During the first wave, my amazing team from Queen Mary’s I am part of was sent to Darent Valley where we worked in ICU in 12-hour shifts, in full PPE caring for the sickest patients, effected by this devastating virus.
We saw and experienced some of the most traumatic and unimaginable scenes, nothing we were taught or from our many working years prepared us. Hour by hour we did all we could, as people struggled for breath and fought for life. And many died.
The trauma affects us all still today and we do not want to see those images again. Please follow the rules, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask. Trust me, a mask is more comfortable than a ventilator tube being inserted down your throat as you struggle to breathe.
When you need a test, we now have a proper unit locally, be patient and only book one if you have symptoms or are told to.”
Stuart Rowbotham, SE London CCG, Place Based Director (Bexley) said;
“Testing is a vital part of our fight against Coronavirus and it’s really good news that, with the new site opening, we are able to increase the number of appointments available to people should they be showing symptoms.
These sites are not possible without the hard work of many people and I would like to thank everyone involved for their incredible efforts and for the way we have come together as a partnership of all organisations responsible for health and care to coordinate our efforts and make these things happen.
I’ve no doubt this new test centre will be of great benefit to our community in the weeks and months ahead but it is still important that we all remember that each and every one of us has a role to play in reducing the spread of the virus. It is still with us, so it is really important that if you have symptoms, no matter how mild, you stay at home, isolate and book a free test.”
Residents are also encouraged to download the new NHS Covid-19 app that helps to track the virus. The free app launched last week and is available from the App store or Google Play.