New fast COVID-19 testing centre opens today in Harlow

Published date

From today, Friday 8 January 2021, a new fast testing centre opens in Harlow for those who DO NOT have symptoms of COVID-19.

The new Harlow Testing Centre is situated at The Civic Centre, Water Gardens College Square, Harlow, CM20 1WG.

This testing centre is the fifth of its kind in Essex joining the line up of existing centres at The Nightingale Centre in Brentwood, The Towngate Theatre in Basildon, The MegaCentre in Rayleigh and The Place Leisure Centre in Pitsea.

The new centres are among the first of their kind in the region, offering new and fast lateral flow tests to the wider population. The tests are ONLY for people for who DO NOT have symptoms and give results in around 30 minutes.

Tests are by appointment only and bookings should be made online. Anyone booking should live in the Harlow district of Essex.

You can book a test on the Essex County Council website

Booking online should be the quickest and most effective option for residents seeking a lateral flow test. If you're not able to book using the online form, you can call 0333 772 6144 to arrange an appointment. Lines are open from 8am to 8pm, every day including Saturday and Sunday.

You can also email and a member of staff will contact you to arrange an appointment.

Anyone WITH symptoms should book a test via the NHS Test and Trace app, or on GOV.UK

This additional centre has been established in response to the current infection rate in the district of Harlow now reaching 1289.3 per 100,000 (according to the latest available data, released on 7 January 2020).

An additional mobile testing unit capacity has also been secured at Harlow Football Club, exact dates and times are being worked through and more details will be available in the coming days.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex’s Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, said:

“Infection rates in Harlow are rising rapidly and local NHS services are coming under significant strain as a result of the new variant of COVID-19. A ‘critical incident’ was declared last week, with critical care and bed capacity rising as well as high staff sickness and self-isolation levels.

“This additional testing centre will allow us to test even more people in the worst affected areas where we continue to see worryingly high rates. We know that over 5,000 people have already been tested at the first three fast testing centres which we have opened.

“Testing people who feel well will help identify the hidden cases in the community – people who may be unwittingly infecting others. If you test positive with one of the new fast tests, you will be asked to self-isolate, and take a further test to confirm the initial result."

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

“We are absolutely determined to do all we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Essex, especially in the areas like Harlow where we are seeing cases continue to increase considerably as a result of the new variant.

“Targeted testing programmes are one part of how we will continue to tackle the virus, in addition to everyone playing their part in following the latest lockdown rules to limit the spread. An appointment to carry out a COVID-19 test will count as an essential journey under the lockdown rules.”

Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of Harlow Council and Councillor Andrew Johnson, Leader of the Opposition on Harlow Council, said:

“We are pleased that Harlow Council and Essex County Council are working together to provide a community testing programme from the Civic Centre.

“The COVID-19 situation in Harlow is extremely serious and our hospital and our NHS staff are currently under enormous pressure. We must all act now to do our bit to stop the spread of this virus so we protect the NHS and save lives. One in three people with this virus do not have symptoms so by taking a test residents will know whether they need to self-isolate or not, which in turn will save lives.

“It is in everybody’s interest to take a test and follow the lockdown rules as this is the only way to bring down infection rates. If cases fall in Harlow we will be in a better position for when the regional tiering system returns after the national lockdown ends.”

More details about testing can be found on Essex County Council's coronavirus page