Additional covid-19 “surge testing” is being launched in New Addington and Fieldway from tomorrow, after Public Health England found evidence of a covid-19 case with the South African variant that cannot be linked back to international travel.
From tomorrow, Mobile Testing Units will be located at car parks at Timebridge Centre, Fieldway and Queen Elizabeth Drive, New Addington. This additional testing programme is planned to last for two weeks and will be kept under review. Residents will be asked to take one test during this time.
All viruses, including the one that causes covid-19, constantly mutate into new versions or variants. These tiny genetic changes happen as the virus makes new copies of itself to spread and thrive.
Some variants can make the virus more infectious or threatening to the host – humans.
There are now many thousands of variants of the pandemic virus circulating. But experts are concerned about the South African variant, also known as 501.V2 or B.1.351.
There is no evidence that the South Africa variant causes more serious illness for the vast majority of people who become infected. As with the original version, the risk is highest for people who are elderly or have significant underlying health conditions.
But there are concerns it can spread more readily and vaccines may not work quite as well against it. The South African variant carries a mutation, called N501Y, that appears to make it more contagious or easy to spread.
Croydon Council issued a statement at lunchtime today which said, “Working in partnership with NHS Test and Trace, Croydon Council is strongly encouraging every person over the age of 16 living in New Addington and Fieldway to take a PCR covid-19 test as soon as possible, even if they are not showing symptoms. This includes people who have already been vaccinated against covid-19.
“Additional testing is being made available in the area to enable residents without symptoms to get tested as quickly and easily as possible.”
The two new mobile testing units will be open from 8.30am to 3pm, seven days a week.
Appointments must be booked in advance through the council website – residents cannot use the national booking system for these tests. For more information and to book visit www.croydon.gov.uk/CovidTest
The council said, “Also from tomorrow, residents without symptoms can pick up and drop off home testing kits from the Timebridge Centre, Fieldway or New Addington Library, Central Parade from 11am-3pm, Monday –Saturday. They will need to wear a face-covering and bring their smart phone if they have one to register their test and proof of address. They can collect and drop off their tests at either site.
“Croydon Council will also be going door-to-door, delivering home test kits to some addresses in the area.
“Residents who are clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to follow shielding guidance and should not leave their home to get a test.
“Anyone who has tested positive for covid-19 in the last two weeks does not need to get tested again.”
And the council added, “Anyone who tests positive by any method must self-isolate immediately and pass on details on their contacts to NHS Test and Trace.”
New Addington residents who have any of the Covid-19 symptoms should continue to get tested in the usual way by booking at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
And the council statement continued: “At present, there are no additional restrictions in place in New Addington and Fieldway. Schools and colleges remain open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers, and nurseries remain open. There are no instructions for education settings to close in areas where new variants have been identified. Residents in the area can still leave their homes for essential reasons – for example to work, if they cannot work from home, to attend medical appointments and to get food and other supplies.
“All residents should continue to follow the national lockdown restrictions and the NHS social distancing guidance on hands, face, space to protect themselves and their loved ones from covid-19.”
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s director of public health, said: “Following the identification of a covid-19 case with the variant first identified in South Africa, we are asking everyone living in New Addington to get tested, whether or not they have symptoms.
“By getting tested, you can help to prevent the virus spreading, protecting yourself and your loved ones, while enabling better understanding of this variant. There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant of covid-19 is more serious than others, or that the vaccine would not protect against it.
“The most important thing is that people continue to follow the guidance that is in place – follow the lockdown rules and remember hands, face, space – wash your hands, cover your face and keep your distance from others. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.”
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