Weekly testing for council staff who cannot work from home

Targeted asymptomatic testing has been introduced for frontline council workers who cannot work from home and are working to keep essential services running.

Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.

Asymptomatic testing using lateral flow devices has already been rolled out nationally to NHS front line staff, care home staff and residents, domiciliary care workers, schools and some commercial organisations.

In the first phase of the Dorset Rapid Testing Programme, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council and Dorset Council introduced weekly Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing for some critical workers who come into face to face contact with the most vulnerable.

LDF testing is currently available for eligible groups from a mobile unit at the Civic Centre in Poole for BCP Council staff and at Weymouth Park and Ride for Dorset Council staff. From Monday 1 February BCP Council will be opening two more testing sites at Kinson Community Centre in Bournemouth and the Civic Offices in Christchurch to make the tests more accessible to colleagues.

Councillor Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for COVID-19 Resilience and Public Health at BCP Council, said: “We are very pleased to be offering asymptomatic testing to key frontline staff who cannot work from home, to help us keep essential BCP Council services going during the pandemic.

“One in three people with COVID-19 have no symptoms so this testing will allow us to identify people who have COVID-19 without realising and ensure they self-isolate, whilst allowing others to keep working safely. It is an extra step in protecting our frontline staff and the people they support in our community.”

Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health said:

“Public Health Dorset is now working with both local authorities to identify further community groups to invite to the twelve-week asymptomatic testing programme; those who are working to keep essential services running or supporting the Covid effort and those who are vulnerable and at higher risk of transmission. This may also include community testing within council ward areas with high prevalence of Covid-19.

Rachel Partridge, Assistant Director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils said: “While most of our staff at BCP and Dorset Councils continue to deliver council services from home, we have a number of staff who can’t do their jobs from home and need to be out seeing people in person.

“By doing weekly lateral flow device testing, we will be able to test those colleagues to make the interactions they have safer and so they can continue carrying out vital front line services such as social care and passenger transport while keeping the rest of our communities safe and limiting the spread of COVID-19.”

Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should continue to use the national portal to book a test at the mobile testing sites and local testing sites around the rest of Dorset.

If anyone with symptoms of coronavirus - a new continuous cough, a high fever or a loss or change of taste or smell - should self-isolate immediately and not leave home unless to travel to a COVID-19 test appointment. Other members of your household and support bubble must also self-isolate until a result is received.

To book a test visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.

When booking a COVID-19 test you will get a choice of sites, depending where they are located that day and their capacity. Sites are at:

  • Bridport
  • Dorchester
  • Swannery Car Park, Weymouth
  • Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, Portland
  • Purbeck Park
  • Station Road Car Park in Sturminster Newton
  • Hawkwood Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth
  • Wallisdown, Bournemouth
  • Lansdowne, Bournemouth
  • Creekmoor, Poole
  • Dolphin Swimming Pool Car Park, Poole
  • Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre, Christchurch

 

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For more information contact the Public Health Dorset Communications Team via phdcomms@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

  • On 9 November the Prime Minister announced that lateral flow tests will be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to local public health leaders to enable local teams to direct and deliver testing based on their local knowledge. And with over 2 million lateral flow test kits delivered to over 100 local authorities, locally led testing is already underway across the country.

 

  • On 4 January the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown, with restrictions expected to last until the middle of February.

 

  • As part of the expansion of community testing, local authorities will be supported to carry out community testing programmes until the end of March. This support will be rolled out during national lockdown restrictions, being kept closely under review.

 

  • The government will continue to work with Devolved Administrations on their plans for community testing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

  • See latest testing statistics here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

 

  • Lateral flow tests are a new kind of technology that can be used to test a higher proportion of asymptomatic people, better enabling us to identify and isolate more people at risk of spreading virus, and break chains of transmission. Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. Extensive clinical evaluation from Public Health England and the University of Oxford show lateral flow tests are accurate and sensitive to be deployed for mass testing, including for asymptomatic people.
Posted on Thursday 28 January 2021