As part of efforts to support the increase in coronavirus testing capacity in Hackney, Hackney Council has given permission for the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to open a walk through coronavirus Local Testing Station at Sandford Court.
There has been a significant rise in coronavirus cases in Hackney in recent weeks, with a particular increase in Stamford Hill which has among the highest infection rates in London. Ensuring that those with coronavirus symptoms can get a test is vital to restricting the spread of the virus and helping to keep Hackney safe. The Council has therefore been working with the Department for Health and Social Care to identify suitable sites for testing facilities for Hackney residents.
Sandford Court has been chosen because the estate has space to accommodate a testing site without causing health risks or significant disruption to residents. It will provide vital additional testing facilities close to where people live locally – particularly for those who don’t have a car.
About the Local Testing Station
Local Testing Stations are being set up around the UK by the government’s Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) to provide access to coronavirus testing by the NHS Test & Track service. The Council does not set them up or operate them, but has supported the government to identify suitable locations, ensure they operate safely and with minimal disruption to residents, and promote their availability locally.
Providing enough testing capacity is vital to tackling the coronavirus pandemic. Testing sites are needed to ensure local people can get tested as quickly as possible when they experience coronavirus symptoms. As well as helping to save lives, this can help us ensure those who are infected don’t spread the virus and put other people in the community at risk, and allow us to better understand local infection rates so that the right preventative measures can be put in place.
Why Sandford Court?
Stamford Hill is a coronavirus hotspot, and has one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in London and in the UK. We have been working with the DHSC to identify a suitable site that is:
- Local to Stamford Hill so that local people can access it easily, even if they don’t have a car
- Accessible seven days a week and throughout the day
- Able to accommodate separate entry and exit points
- On a hard surface, so that it will not be affected by the weather
- Not a risk to local residents or members of the public.
As part of this process we have considered many potential options for the site. Sandford Court is the only option currently available which meets these criteria.
The Local Testing Station will be in place for a minimum of 13 weeks, and potentially longer should the need for local testing continue.
During that time, we will continue to search for an alternative location. If one becomes available, for example if a commercial site is no longer in use, we will look to move the Local Testing Station after the initial 13 week period.
What safety measures will be in place at Sandford Court?
All government testing sites are fully risk-assessed and must comply with strict risk measures to ensure they are COVID-secure. This includes having a secure perimeter with entry and exit into the testing station managed by trained security personnel, and all on-site staff adhering to enhanced protective measures and cleaning procedures. Sites cannot open without NHS approval certifying that the testing station does not pose an increased risk to the safety of members of the public.
The safety of the public at Sandford Court and nearby is paramount. Stringent health and safety measures will be put in place to protect local people from infection and ensure the Local Testing Station does not pose an increased risk to residents or members of the public walking along Bethune Road.
The safety measures assume that residents on the estate and nearby are particularly vulnerable to risks of coronavirus so that the Local Testing Station meets the highest safety standards.
The following measures will be in place to ensure the safety of local residents:
- The Local Testing Station, including all waiting and testing areas and access routes, will be segregated from the estate and any publicly accessible areas by fencing. Access to and from the site will be clearly signposted from Bethune Road, so there will be no interaction with local residents. This layout has been inspected and approved by a consultant from the City & Hackney public health service to ensure it does not pose an increased risk of infection to the public.
- After booking their tests, people will receive the full address and directions to the testing station. The site will be set up to help people maintain social distancing, as well as to avoid queues of people waiting for a test in public spaces.
- Security officers will be in place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure the safety and security of NHS staff and equipment. This should also help deter any other potential crime and anti-social behaviour.
- All visitors to the Local Testing Station will be required to follow clear coronavirus-safe practices, such as social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing station).
- All on-site operational staff will wear PPE and follow coronavirus-safe practices such as social distancing, washing their hands. The site will be divided into zones with very strict dress codes to ensure staff safety. The staff who are not meeting the people being tested do not wear PPE, for example when taking breaks or eating lunch.
- A strict cleaning regime for the whole testing station which means that facilities are cleaned multiple times a day to ensure very high standards of hygiene. Waste from the testing station will be removed safely, on a regular basis, and will not be placed in the bins used by residents. All used water from sinks, toilets and wash hand basins will be stored in tanks and removed by tanker.
How to get a test
Residents can book a test online, by calling 119, or using the NHS Covid-19 app. Typically, bookings for a testing station are made available from 6pm the evening before the appointment, but please remember you must have symptoms to book.
A Mobile Testing Station will be in operation at Sandford Court from 10:30am-3.30pm on Thursday 29 October, and will then run every other day until the Local Testing Station opens in mid-November.
Find out more
Residents with any further questions or concerns about the Mobile Testing Unit or the Local Testing Station at Sandford Court can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8356 3330 and select the option to discuss Sandford Court.