South African variant: surge testing in CM13

Where is CM13? Parts of Brentwood along with East Horndon, Great Warley, Herongate, Hutton, Ingrave, Little Warley and West Horndon. See map below:

Surge testing is being deployed in the CM13 postcode in Brentwood where a single case of the South Africa coronavirus variant has been found.

People aged 16 and over, living or working within the CM13 postcode in Brentwood are being asked to get a Covid-19 test as soon as possible, whether they have symptoms or not.

The advice from Public Health England follows confirmation of an isolated case of the South African Covid-19 variant in this specific location, not linked to international travel. The case has prompted a move to ‘surge’ testing in the area.

Surge testing has been deployed in other areas of the country following other confirmed cases of the South African variant. Essex County Council is currently working with NHS Test and Trace, Public Health England and Brentwood Borough Council to increase local testing capacity in the area.

The aim is to understand what, if any, spread of the new variant within the local community may have occurred and limit the opportunity for any further spread. Robust contact tracing has taken place following identification of the isolated case.

Beginning from Monday 22 February, residents and businesses within the identified postcode area will be contacted by letter to explain how and where they can get a Covid-19 test.

Testing options include four Mobile Testing Units* (MTUs) in the area and a pick-up and drop-off service. Young people aged 16-18 attending a Mobile Testing Unit site must be accompanied by a guardian, according to national testing guidance.

The only people who do not need to take part are: children aged 15 or under; people who have tested positive in the last 90 days.

People who currently have symptoms should book a test via in line with national guidance.

Any residents in this area who are unable to attend a test site in person will be contacted and arrangements will be made to deliver a test to them at home.

If an individual tests positive, has any symptoms, or is contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive, they should self-isolate immediately.

If they test negative, it is vital they continue to follow Covid-19 guidance around hands, face and space.

Dr Mike Gogarty, ECC’s Director of Public Health, said: “Testing is an integral part of our Covid-19 response in Essex, it is vital that anyone over 16 and living or working in this area gets tested so we can better understand and suppress any further spread of the South African variant.

“We know this variant is highly transmissible and so it is important to break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible, which is the aim of surge testing. The quickest way of doing this is for individuals who test positive to self-isolate immediately.

“Even if you are feeling well, I would urge everyone to play their part to keep their community safe. If you are contacted please book a Covid-19 test as soon as possible.”

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “I am very keen that residents of Brentwood do not feel unduly alarmed or concerned about the rolling out of surge testing. This approach is part of a national Public Health England-led response to the emergence of new variants that cannot be linked to foreign travel or contact with people who have been abroad.

“This is a very much a precautionary measure which has been carried out in other areas of the country. It will provide us with valuable insights about any potential spread of this particular variant and help us to suppress it.”

Support is available for anyone who is required to self-isolate. More information can be found here:

Further information about surge testing is available here:

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