Coronavirus information and guidance

Getting tested for COVID-19

Who can get tested?

Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus should apply for the test straight away, but we are also offering a test for anyone who wants one, even without symptoms.

You can get a test at any of the testing sites below with or without symptoms, with the exception of the University Square and St Aiden's Church, which are only for those without symptoms.

How to get a test

If you have symptoms

You can get a test at any of these testing sites

Without an appointment:

  • Hamlet Court Road car park
    SS0 7DD
    8am to 4pm, 7 days a week
    This site is open to drive-through and walk-up appointments
    Parking: available
    Accessibility: accessible to all
    Type of test: PCR testing site for people with or without symptoms

Test centres bookable online or by phone:

  • Short Street testing site
    Standard opening hours: 7 days a week 8am-8pm
    Parking: Town center parking
    Accessibility: accessible to all
    Type of test: PCR testing site for people with or without symptoms
    You can book a test on the .gov.uk website or call 119. If you don't have symptoms, please select "no" to "do you have symptoms" and then select "my local authority has asked me to have a test"

  • Southend Airport testing site
    Standard opening hours: 7 days a week 9am-3pm
    Parking: available
    Accessibility: accessible to all
    Type of test: PCR testing site for people with or without symptoms
    You can book a test on the .gov.uk website or call 119. If you don't have symptoms, please select "no" to "do you have symptoms" and then select "my local authority has asked me to have a test"

If you do not have symptoms

You can get a test at any of the above testing sites, or any of the sites below.

  • University Square, Southend-on-Sea (entrance opposite Sainsbury's)
    You must have no symptoms to attend this site
    Standard opening hours: 7 days a week 7am-3pm
    Parking: town centre pay and display parking
    Accessibility: accessible to all
    Type of test:  LFD rapid testing site for people with no symptoms
    You can book your appointment on our website.
    If you’re not able to book online, you can call the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Covid Response helpline on 01702 212497. This line is open 9am - 5pm weekdays (closed weekends and bank holidays).
  • St Aidan's Church
    The Fairway, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 4QW
    You must have no symptoms to attend this site
    Standard opening hours: 7 days a week 7am-6pm 
    Parking:- there is onsite parking in St.Aidan’s church car park
    Accessibility: accessible to all
    Type of test: LFD rapid testing site for people with no symptoms
    You can book your appointment on our website.
    If you’re not able to book online, you can call the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Covid Response helpline on 01702 212497. This line is open 9am - 5pm weekdays (closed weekends and bank holidays).
  • Shoebury Youth Centre
    Delaware Road, Shoeburyness, SS3 9NS
    You must have no symptoms to attend this site
    Standard opening hours: 7 days a week 8am to 7pm  (3.30pm to 7pm on Tuesday 19 January)
    Parking is available
    Accessibility: accessible to all
    Type of test: LFD rapid testing site for people with no symptoms
    You can book your appointment on our website.
    If you’re not able to book online, you can call the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Covid Response helpline on 01702 212497. This line is open 9am - 5pm weekdays (closed weekends and bank holidays).

Information on all test centres:

All test sites in Southend are viewable on this map.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR test)

The PCR test looks for evidence that the virus is currently in your body, by looking for the presence of its RNA in a swab sample from your nose/throat.

The test needs to go to a laboratory for processing and it usually takes between 12 and 24 hours to return a result.

Lateral Flow Device Testing (LFD)

Lateral flow antigen devices are a rapid test for COVID-19 that gives a result in about 30 minutes. You can do the test yourself under the supervision of a trained member of staff. The test is a small swab brushed against your tonsils and inside one nostril. The swab is put into a device, which works a bit like a pregnancy-test kit. It then takes about 30 minutes to give a result.

Lateral flow devices give a result much faster than the more sensitive lab-based PCR tests which can take at least 24 hours, and often longer. The rapid approach does not need processing in a laboratory so it can pick up far more cases at the most critical period and stop transmission fast. This technology will help us greatly increase the number of people who know they are infected and can then self-isolate, slowing the spread of the virus.

More information on LFD tests

Priority testing for key workers in Southend

Nazareth house, 111 London Rd in Westcliff is now the testing centre for key worker staff including patients who are due to have planned operations at the hospital. Key workers eligible include NHS employees, care workers, the emergency services and education workers, and their household members receiving symptomatic testing.

Care home test kits

Coronavirus testing is available for all care home residents and staff regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.  To apply for a test kit, you must be a CQC Registered care home manager.

Visit GOV.UK to find out how to apply for care home test kits.

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