Rapid Covid testing for businesses whose staff cannot
work from home
We are working with a number of partners to ensure that rapid testing for people without Covid-19 symptoms will soon be available in various settings across Norfolk and Suffolk. Rapid lateral flow tests, which involve a swab of the nose and throat and provide a result within 60 minutes, will be used. Organisations and employers who have staff and workers who would be eligible for testing will be contacted and given details on how to get involved. Critical workers, those in high-risk occupations who still have to attend work, and people who are in contact with vulnerable individuals will be prioritised. These new initiatives will complement the nationally-led roll-out of lateral flow tests in some settings such as universities, schools and some large employers.
Why should I encourage my staff to get tested?
Many people who have coronavirus do not display symptoms and the rapid symptom-free. Rapid testing is an important new tool for preventing the spread of the coronavirus and will help to:
• Protect your employees’ health and that of your customers
• Identify cases earlier, reducing likely spread
• Minimise disruption to your business due to large numbers of staff needing to self isolate
• Provide your staff with free and easy to tests with results available quickly, minimising disruption to your business.
Book now for rapid testing in Suffolk
Community testing centres are now open across Suffolk – available seven days a week.
Bookings can also be made by telephone at 0333 772 6144.
Book now for rapid testing in Norfolk
No test is perfect. The most accurate test we have for COVID-19 is the PCR test, which involves the swab being sent to a laboratory for analysis and is used for when people have symptoms. PCR test results can take a day or so to come back but are usually very accurate. This means that people can be reasonably confident in the outcome and continue to self-isolate if the result is positive. Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) give a much quicker result (usually within an hour) but these tests are not as accurate as PCR tests. A negative LFD test is not a 100% guarantee that you do not have the virus. However, lateral flow tests tend to detect individuals in their most infectious period. As one in three people may have the virus and never get symptoms, this can be a useful tool to find extra cases of COVID-19 before the virus is passed on. Evaluation of the LFD tests, compared to PCR tests, show LFD tests pick up between five out of 10 of the cases and nine out of 10 cases where the person has higher viral loads (amounts of the virus in the nose and throat), and are most infectious.
What does this mean?
Because of this, people should continue to “act like they have the virus” even if their LFD test result is negative, ensuring that they continue to adhere to all the prevention of transmission guidance, including to wash their hands frequently, socially distance and wear face coverings. Also, this means regular testing is key, as if you are in contact with other people regularly, you could have caught the virus and started to pass it on, even if a recent test showed you are negative.
What does the test show?
If someone tests positive from a rapid test, they must self-isolate for 10 days. As of new guidance published on 27 January 2021, if someone has tested positive and is isolating, they no longer need to arrange for a further PCR test. Click here for the latest guidance.For those who are self-isolating, financial support may be available through the Government’s Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.
If someone tests negative, the result only covers the moment in time when a test is carried out. Therefore, individuals must continue to follow Covid-19 guidance such as maintaining social distancing (that’s a 2metre distance between each other), regularly washing hands, working from home if possible and wearing a face covering where advised.
How often should people get tested?
We recommend your staff get tested twice per week, three to four days apart. By getting into this routine, the risk of an infected person passing on the virus in the workplace is minimised.
Take part in a national survey on barriers to testing
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a survey to improve Government’s understanding of the barriers to take up of mass testing and incentives which may encourage businesses to do so. You can take part in the survey by clicking on this link.
Book a symptomatic test if you have Coronavirus symptoms
Symptom-free testing complements but is separate from national coronavirus testing for those with symptoms – anyone with symptoms should book a free NHS test using the GOV.UK website or by calling 119. They should immediately self-isolate and not seek to use the symptom-free testing programmes.