News article entitled Changes to Kent's testing sites opening hours as more people choose to test at home

Changes to Kent's testing sites opening hours as more people choose to test at home

Published: 28/05/2021

Kent’s interim Director of Public Health, Allison Duggal, has praised residents in the county for continuing to test themselves regularly for COVID-19 and supporting the county’s road map out of lockdown.

Home testing kits are now widely available at hundreds of pharmacies and workplaces across Kent and can also be ordered online and delivered to your door. As a result of all the different ways to access testing, and a reduction in the number of people choosing to come and get tested in one of our testing sites, a decision has been made to reduce the opening times from the beginning of June.

As pubs, restaurants, gyms and events are now open again it is vitally important that people continue take a test twice a week, even if they have been vaccinated, just to check whether or not they are unwittingly carrying the virus. One in three people show no symptoms of COVID-19.and regular testing will ensure we put a stop to the spread of the virus.

“I cannot thank residents of Kent enough for the massive part they have played, and continue to play, in driving down infection rates through regular testing,” said Allison Duggal.

“I am hugely encouraged by the take up of home testing kits from pharmacies and online. A home test is quick and easy to do and, with everyone getting out and about and socialising more, it is so important that we keep testing, testing, testing to identify any positive cases and continue to prevent the spread of the virus. Please remember to register your test result online so we receive a record of how many people are taking tests.

“We are all aware there are COVID-19 variants emerging that could be more transmissible than other strains. The good news is that we are confident that the vaccine can protect against it but, vaccinated or not, regular testing is vital if we are to stop cases increasing in Kent as they are in other parts of the UK.

“We work closely with Public Health England whenever there is an outbreak and the public should feel reassured that we act quickly to manage the spread of the virus. As soon as we even suspect that someone in Kent has a variant of Covid-19 we have very clear processes that we follow, to carry out PCR testing quickly and effectively and send any positive test results off for ‘sequencing’ which identifies which strain of the virus it is. While I want people to be confident that we can – and do – manage any outbreaks well, I also want our residents to support this by continuing to test and also thinking Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air at all times.

“We don’t want anything to jeopardise the further lifting of restrictions on 21 June by taking our eye off the ball now. Thank you again for your continued efforts to keep everyone safe.”

There is a symptom free test site in every district of Kent and these have played an important part in driving down infection rates and identifying cases that have been isolated, preventing further transmission in the community.

Now that home tests are more readily available, more people are choosing to test themselves at home or in the workplace. The testing centres will stay open, but some operating hours are being reduced in line with the number of people using them.

From Tuesday 1st June until Wednesday 30th June 2021 the following changes will be taking place to opening times of symptom free testing sites in Kent:

  • Monday – CLOSED
  • Tuesday - 9am-2pm
  • Wednesday – 2pm-7pm
  • Thursday – 9am-2pm
  • Friday – 9am – 7pm
  • Saturday – CLOSED
  • Sunday – 9am – 7pm

 *Please note that the testing site at Sheerness Working Men’s Club will be open from 9am to 7pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday. The sites at Sandwich and Sheerness will be closing down on Friday 25th June.

To find out more details and to book a symptom-free test please visit KCC's website. It is easy to book online and there are plenty of appointments available at all sites.

Most community pharmacies in Kent have joined the collect scheme. For more information on where to get lateral flow tests, including community pharmacies, you can view a live map tracker.

If you are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms – high temperature, a new or continuous cough, a loss or change in taste or smell – you should NOT visit a symptom free testing site and continue to self-isolate. You can book a test online by visiting the government's website.