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Large employers across the city urged to offer COVID-19 testing for employees

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has written to 41 businesses across the city with the offer of free, rapid result testing.

Larger businesses in Stoke-on-Trent now have the opportunity to roll out COVID-19 testing for their employees. By joining the programme businesses in the city will be playing a key role in protecting their workforce and the wider community.

Roughly one in three people have the virus without symptoms, so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Testing people without symptoms can help to identify cases quickly and help break the chain of transmission.

This comes as the city was named one of 67 local authority areas in the country to benefit from the first wave of the government’s community testing offer.

In December the city council took stock of more than 150,000 rapid result coronavirus kits and associated PPE so that testing in community settings across the city could be ramped up. Since then more than 6,300 lateral flow testing have taken place in community venues, and many more in a wide range of education providers, public sector partners and care providers.

Businesses with over 200 staff are urged to contact the city council if they would like to arrange a further discussion and book a place on a webinar to learn more.

Criteria businesses need to meet include: 

  • Your own occupational health team or other equivalent staff such as first aiders willing to be trained to oversee the lateral flow test process 
  • Sufficient space to conduct the tests (following social distancing rules) and area to wait for results 
  • Willingness to test regularly (daily, weekly or fortnightly) and share results with the council/NHS  

Council leader Abi Brown said: “Offering lateral flow testing to our larger businesses across the city so their employees can be tested regularly is vital in stopping the spread of the virus. By identifying cases quickly large outbreaks can be avoided that can be very disruptive to operations.

“We already have a significant business in the city on board with the scheme. They will be testing employees weekly and training will be carried out to ensure health and safety is followed.”

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “Over the course of the pandemic we have seen outbreaks in business settings across the city. By now offering testing to businesses we can identify more people who have the virus and need to self-isolate, which in turn stops the spread of infection and reduces the number of cases.

“Testing within businesses is just one part of our testing programme. As we go through January we will be bringing new sites live across the city to expand the offer of community testing. We have now delivered a total of 6,350 tests in community settings, tests which residents could book 48 hours in advance since we started a few months ago. I would urge everyone that is in a role where they have to go out to work to get tested at least once a week to keep yourself, your colleagues and your loved ones safe.”

For the latest information on council services and support during the coronavirus, and frequently asked questions, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus. For latest health advice on the coronavirus, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, and for further information on the virus visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.

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