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Increase in community testing for 11-18 year olds

11th December 2020
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

Covid-19 testing for the community, with a particular focus on secondary school age children, is being increased as cases continue to rise in parts of Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock.

Young people of secondary school age, particularly those in years 11, 12 and 13, and their families, who do NOT have symptoms are now being urged to ‘Test now for Christmas, test again before the return to school’.

Following an announcement from the Government last night, Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock Councils are putting into action plans, collaboratively worked up with the DHSC, for increased community testing in specific locations across the county including for those with no symptoms. 

Testing capacity in each area is being added to and people should look out for local information from the three councils over the coming days as existing provision is improved through more sites coming on stream and sites being open more days of the week.

This additional testing capacity will be available to the whole community, but young people of secondary school age and their families are strongly encouraged to get tested.

Secondary school age pupils are urged to get tested now before Christmas, and then prior to their return to school in January as part of this increase in community testing.

You can access a test by booking on line at You will be asked a series of questions and then directed to the most appropriate testing method.

You will be given the option of either attending a local testing site or a postal test kit can be sent to your home for you to do yourself. 

As of today, Friday 11 December, below are the mobile testing sites that are operational. More sites are expected to open tomorrow and early next week. Residents should be aware that tests at the below sites are by appointment only.

  • Car Park 12, Cherrydown West, Basildon, SS16 5AJ
  • Barleylands Farm Park & The Village, Barleylands Road, Billericay, Essex, CM11 2UD
  • Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, Basildon, Essex, SS16 4UH

The fixed testing centre also operational in Basildon is: Adult Community Learning, Churchill Ave, Basildon SS14 3SG.

The opportunity to access a test is open to all family members of children of secondary school age. The exception is if you have had a positive test in the last 12 weeks, as it may be incorrectly positive.

Children of secondary school age are also urged to get a second test around 4-7 days before return to school, to ensure that anyone who may be infectious does not return to school and potentially start an outbreak.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Health, said:

“If you love your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, please test now for Christmas; if you care about your education, test again before you go back to school.

“The rate of coronavirus transmission is increasing across much of Essex and we need to identify as many people as possible to stop the spread. 

“Community testing is helpful to identify where the disease is spreading and also helps to identify asymptomatic people who may be carrying and spreading the disease unknowingly

“This is particularly important now as Christmas approaches and families look forward to mixing and meeting. We are also aware that rates in young people have been increasing particularly quickly

“I would therefore urge you to have your secondary school age child tested for coronavirus please.”

“Your help and support is critical in stopping this awful virus in its tracks.”