COVID-19 Surge Testing for parts of Maidstone


Last Updated: 24 May 2021

Why is the COVID-19 surge testing programme needed in Maidstone?

Government have asked for as many people as possible in part of the ME15 area to be tested following information that a specific variant of COVID-19 may have been identified in the area in a resident who has no links to travel or other variant cases. The variant is known as the South African SARS-CoV-2 - also known as VOC0202012/02.

How will the Testing Take Place?

Households within the area will be visited by staff from the Kent Resilience Forum (details below)

The testing team will leave enough kits for everyone in your household, over 16, to complete the tests and will return later in the day to collect the completed kits. Your sample will be taken to a laboratory so that we can test for the variant.

If a member of your household has been unable to complete the test when the testing team visits to collect it then it can be taken to the Mobile Testing Unit which is located at the YMCA in Melrose Close off Cripple Street. Residents should take this test whether they have symptoms or not. If residents have either just had a test - or are booked in for a test soon – it is important that they still take this test too as additional sequencing for tests that are positive will be undertaken.

Who will knock on my door?

A representative from one of the following Kent Resilience Forum partnership will knock on your door if you live in the area of ME15 being targeted between midday and 8pm :  Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue, Kent Search and Rescue, Maidstone Borough Council or a KCC Community Warden.

All representatives will be in uniform, will carry ID and will be tested daily for COVID-19 before their shift starts. You will NOT be asked for any personal information at the door or to make a payment or submit your bank details

Find out if you live in the testing area

The map below shows the area where the testing programme will be carried out and includes the location of the Mobile Testing Unit which is located at the YMCA in Melrose Close off Cripple Street:

The postcodes included in the targeted testing are:

Open
  • ME15 0ES
  • ME15 0ET
  • ME15 0EU
  • ME15 0HJ
  • ME15 0HL
  • ME15 0HN
  • ME15 0HP
  • ME15 0HR
  • ME15 0HS
  • ME15 0HT
  • ME15 0HU
  • ME15 0HX
  • ME15 0HY
  • ME15 0HZ
  • ME15 0JB
  • ME15 0PP
  • ME15 0PS
  • ME15 0QG
  • ME15 6AA
  • ME15 6AB
  • ME15 6AD
  • ME15 6AG
  • ME15 6AJ
  • ME15 6AL
  • ME15 6AN
  • ME15 6AQ
  • ME15 6AU
  • ME15 6AY
  • ME15 6AZ
  • ME15 6BA
  • ME15 6BB
  • ME15 6BD
  • ME15 6BE
  • ME15 6BF
  • ME15 6BG
  • ME15 6BH
  • ME15 6BJ
  • ME15 6BL
  • ME15 6BN
  • ME15 6BP
  • ME15 6BQ
  • ME15 6BS
  • ME15 6BT
  • ME15 6BU
  • ME15 6BW
  • ME15 6BX
  • ME15 6BY
  • ME15 6BZ
  • ME15 6DA
  • ME15 6DB
  • ME15 6DD
  • ME15 6DE
  • ME15 6DF
  • ME15 6DG
  • ME15 6DH
  • ME15 6DL
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  • ME15 6DP
  • ME15 6DQ
  • ME15 6DR
  • ME15 6DS
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  • ME15 6DU
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  • ME15 6TA
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  • ME15 7DR
  • ME15 7DX
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  • ME15 9AD
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  • ME15 9BY
  • ME15 9BZ
  • ME15 9DA
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  • ME15 9DJ
  • ME15 9DL
  • ME15 9DN
  • ME15 9DP
  • ME15 9DQ
  • ME15 9DR
  • ME15 9DS
  • ME15 9FL
  • ME15 9FP
  • ME15 9FW
  • ME15 9FX
  • ME15 9GA
  • ME15 9GB
  • ME15 9GD
  • ME15 9GE
  • ME15 9GF
  • ME15 9HJ
  • ME15 9LY
  • ME15 9NN
  • ME15 9PY
  • ME15 9QA
  • ME15 9QB
  • ME15 9QD
  • ME15 9QE
  • ME15 9QF
  • ME15 9QG
  • ME15 9QH
  • ME15 9QJ
  • ME15 9QL
  • ME15 9QN
  • ME15 9QP
  • ME15 9QR
  • ME15 9QS
  • ME15 9QT
  • ME15 9QU
  • ME15 9QW
  • ME15 9QX
  • ME15 9QY
  • ME15 9QZ
  • ME15 9RA
  • ME15 9RB
  • ME15 9RD
  • ME15 9RE
  • ME15 9RH
  • ME15 9RN
  • ME15 9RP
  • ME15 9RR
  • ME15 9RS
  • ME15 9RU
  • ME15 9RX
  • ME15 9RY
  • ME15 9RZ
  • ME15 9SA
  • ME15 9SB
  • ME15 9SD
  • ME15 9SE
  • ME15 9SG
  • ME15 9SH
  • ME15 9SJ
  • ME15 9SL
  • ME15 9SN
  • ME15 9SP
  • ME15 9SR
  • ME15 9SS
  • ME15 9ST
  • ME15 9SU
  • ME15 9SW
  • ME15 9SX
  • ME15 9SY
  • ME15 9TA
  • ME15 9TB
  • ME15 9TD
  • ME15 9TE
  • ME15 9TG
  • ME15 9TJ
  • ME15 9TN
  • ME15 9TT
  • ME15 9TX
  • ME15 9UA
  • ME15 9UB
  • ME15 9UD
  • ME15 9UF
  • ME15 9UG
  • ME15 9UH
  • ME15 9UJ
  • ME15 9UL
  • ME15 9UN
  • ME15 9UQ
  • ME15 9UR
  • ME15 9US
  • ME15 9UT
  • ME15 9UU
  • ME15 9UW
  • ME15 9UY
  • ME15 9UZ
  • ME15 9WG
  • ME15 9WP
  • ME15 9XA
  • ME15 9XB
  • ME15 9XD
  • ME15 9XG
  • ME15 9XQ
  • ME15 9XS
  • ME15 9YX
  • ME15 9ZJ
  • ME15 9ZL
  • ME15 9ZN
  • ME15 9ZP
  • ME15 9ZR
  • ME16 8GD
  • ME16 8GE
  • ME16 8LW
  • ME16 8RB
  • ME16 8RD
  • ME16 9NB
  • ME17 4NA
  • ME17 4NB
  • ME17 4ND
  • ME17 4NF.

Questions you may have about the localised testing programme

Do I need to self-isolate if I live in that area?

Residents in the affected area do not need to self-isolate unless they have symptoms, have tested positive and/or been in contact with someone who has tested positive and been contacted by Test and Trace.

Can I continue to work?

If you live in one of the postcodes being visited by doorknockers for the surge testing and you cannot work from home, please continue to attend your workplace ensuring you adhere to the National Lockdown guidance, do not wait at home to be tested. If the doorknockers miss you, you will receive information through your door, asking you to take a test at the YMCA mobile testing unit.

All representatives will be in uniform and will carry ID. You will NOT be asked for any personal information at the door or to make a payment or submit your bank details.

Are people who work at businesses in the area being tested?

A full list of postcodes which will be visited by doorknockers is listed above.

At this stage, businesses will not be tested; households are the priority.

Public Health England have recommended these postcodes, so we are following their instruction.

What should I do if I missed the initial knock on the door or the test collection visit?

If you missed our visit, then you can also be tested at the Mobile Testing Unit without an appointment.

If you were not at home when they visited to collect your test, then you can drop your test kit at the Mobile Testing Unit.

The Mobile Testing Unit is open from 9am to 3pm weekdays, Saturday and Sunday until 3pm Monday 8th February and is situated at the YMCA in Melrose Close (a turning off Cripple Street) Cripple Street Maidstone Kent, ME15 6BD.

How long will you be door knocking in the affected areas of ME15?

Door knocking is expected to finish on Friday 5th February but will only be completed when all houses have been visited.

Can I just turn up at the mobile testing unit?

A mobile testing unit will also be based in the car park outside the YMCA at Melrose Close, Maidstone, ME15 6BD to assist people who are unable to be tested at home and used as a drop off point for these tests.

Please only attend the mobile testing unit if you have received a letter through your door and you don’t have symptoms. You do not need ID, you will be registered when you are there.

What is a PCR test?

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample. The sample is tested in a laboratory.

I have recently had a test, do I need another?

Yes, regardless of any other tests that you have had  recently or are booked to take, and regardless of their results, if you live in the affected area then you must take the test because this sample is specifically being genome sequenced for the variant.

What is my Royal Mail barcode?

When registering your targeted PCR test on the national portal, you will be asked for a Royal Mail barcode. You won't have a Royal Mail barcode in your pack, so please click on the link at the bottom of the registration page that says ‘I do not know my Royal Mail barcode’ to continue the test registration.

How will I receive my results?

The test kit and accompanying letter will have details of how to register on the national portal and enter the barcode from the test you have been given. You will be asked to enter your mobile number and email address, and these will be used to send you your result. You will usually get a text or email with your result when it's ready. Most people get their result the next day, but it may take up to 3 days. Dial 119 if you need assistance with registering or if you do not receive your test results within 3 days.

What should I do if I develop symptoms after the test?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new and persistent cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), however mild, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.

You should also get a test straight away through the NHS Test and Trace Service by calling 119 or visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test Once you have received your test result, you should follow the guidance on test results.

Should I still attend my vaccination appointment?

If residents being asked to take a test have a vaccination appointment they can still attend, unless they have any COVID-19 symptoms, in which case they should follow national public health guidelines.

I am an essential worker, can I go to work whilst awaiting my results?

Yes. If you develop symptoms you must self-isolate.

Why are you only testing people aged over 16?

We are testing as many people as possible over the age of 16 in the local area at this stage. This testing is offered over and above the existing testing strategy and will help us decide if further testing is needed.

How many cases of the South African (SARS-CoV-2) variant have been detected in the UK?

As of 30 January 2021, 105 gnomically confirmed cases of the SARS-CoV-2 variant which originated in South Africa (called VOC202012/02 in the UK) have been identified in the UK.

What is being done to detect the variant?

Laboratory work has begun on the VOC 202012/02 in the UK and is routinely undertaken on all variants under investigation or of concern once samples are available.

What further information can you provide us about the cases?

The identity of the cases is confidential, and we cannot provide any further information.

What can I do to prevent further spread?

The best way to stop the spread of the virus is to wash your hands, wear a face covering and keep your distance from others. Whilst in lockdown, it is important that we also stay at home unless it is absolutely essential to go out.

Do I need to be tested/have regular tests if I have been in contact with people who live in this area?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should isolate for 10 days and book a test as soon as possible. If you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, you should be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and should isolate for 10 days from the date you were last in contact with the positive case.

Does the South African variant have the same transmission rate?

Viruses often evolve and this is not unusual. We know that this variant is more transmissible. We are carrying out work as a priority to understand the potential risk this variant may cause.

Is it more harmful?

There is no suggestion that the South African variant is any more harmful that other Covid-19 variants.

Does the COVID vaccine protect against this variant?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that vaccines will not offer protection against this variant.

Who can I contact if I have further questions?

Call 119 if you need assistance with registering your test or if you have not had a test result within 3 days. For all other enquiries call the 0300 041 9994 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm.