Increasingly, we are finding that frontline workers, including construction workers, are expected to have regular Covid-19 tests before they report to their sites or workplaces.
Only last week we were asked by a client to undertake inspections on a site in London. Their client insisted that anyone who visited the site must have received a negative Covid-19 test result in two weeks prior to their arrival.
Many firms are unsure of what they need to do so we have put together this handy guide to help their staff access testing via Covid-19 community testing. This testing is free – all it requires is their time and it could make the difference between employees and contractors being able to work or being turned away from sites and workplaces.
What is Covid-19 community testing?
This is a new locally-led testing service set up to test people who are asymptomatic, ie without Covid-19 symptoms, in Northamptonshire using lateral flow antigen testing.
The aim of testing people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms is to protect those most at risk by using rapid testing.
What is lateral flow antigen testing?
Lateral flow antigen tests are a new kind of technology that can be used to test a higher proportion of asymptomatic people. This better enables us to identify and isolate people who are more likely to spread the virus so we can break the chains of transmission.
A Lateral Flow Test (LFT) detects the presence or absence of Coronavirus by reading a swab or saliva sample which is applied to the device’s absorbent pad. The sample runs along the surface of the pad and gives a visual positive or negative result dependent on the presence of the virus.
Who is community testing for – Covid-19 tests?
Although students have returned to schools and colleges this week people are still advised to work from home and limit their trips outside.
In the meantime, frontline workers – including those working in construction, public services, health and social care, transportation, education, childcare, essential shops, financial services, food production and processing, warehousing, packing and distribution – are being advised to get tested weekly to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Where can I get Covid-19 tests in Northamptonshire?
There are several test centres located across the county where you can receive free community testing.
There are four centres at Lodge Park Sports Centre in Corby, Danes Camp Sports and Leisure Centre in Northampton, Brackley Leisure Centre and Redwell Leisure Centre in Wellingborough.
The Corby centre is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8am to midday and from 3pm to 7pm. To book a test at the Corby centre click here
The Northampton centre is open Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 1pm and from 2.30pm to 8pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 1pm. To book a test at the Northampton centre click here
The Brackley centre is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to midday and from 2pm to 6pm. To book a test at the Brackley centre click here
The Wellingborough centre is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8am to midday and from 2pm to 6pm. To book a test at the Wellingborough centre click here
You do not have to provide any paperwork or fit to fly certificates for travel to access the testing. However, when you arrive at the test site you will need to register your details on the NHS Test & Trace system in order to receive your test results.
Attendees are advised against using public transport to get to the centres, if possible, in case they later test positive.
Should I visit one of these centres for community testing if I have Covid-19 symptoms?
No. These centres are only for people without symptoms. If you have symptoms you should book a PCR Covid Test.
Are there other ways for businesses to access testing?
Businesses can also order Covid-19 Rapid Lateral Flow tests for their employees directly from the Government using an online ordering portal. Firms can register to order tests for their employees if:
- their business is registered in England
- they employ 50 people or more
- their employees cannot work from home.
You must register on or before 31 March 2021 to access these tests here