From 1 March, Torbay Council begins to roll out its COVID-19 Community Testing programme to provide regular tests for asymptomatic people – that is people who don’t show any symptoms – who work in certain businesses that are most at risk from infection. Community testing is for staff who have to work and cannot work from home.
Council teams are working to set up a testing site in the car park of Splashdown Quaywest water park in Goodrington, and the first staff members are being invited to be tested from next Monday.
Test are by appointment only, through the Council’s booking system. Businesses wishing to register interest can email CommunityTesting@Torbay.gov.uk
This is the first stage of a phased programme. Following the initial pilot, later stages will expand the capacity of local testing within the Bay including in mobile testing sites where employees can be tested at sites nearer to their locality.
These measures will be announced over the coming weeks.
Some businesses will also be able to test their staff regularly on their own premises. Businesses with 50 or more employees can register with the national programme on the Government website
Businesses with fewer than 50 staff can register an interest to arrange on site testing via the local authority.
Businesses being targeted first for community testing are those where employees are most at risk from infection due to the difficulty of distancing in their workplace, such as fishers, nursery workers, some factory workers and frontline staff.
The Community Testing programme uses the rapid-result Lateral Flow Devices, which are quick and easy to use and give a result in half-an-hour as opposed to being sent off to a lab.
Expansion of testing will find more positive cases, keeping key workers from unknowingly passing on the virus, and protecting vital services.
Torbay Council Leader, Steve Darling said: “Business is the backbone of the Bay; so it’s vital that every measure is in place to help those still operating through these critical times do as safely as possible.
“We’re pleased to embark on the first phase of this new testing service from next week, and we’ll be targeting those most at risk from infection through our online booking system.
“It’s important to remember that all testing is by prior booking only, through employers that will be selected according to their levels of risk.”
Torbay Council Deputy Leader, Darren Cowell said: “We know that one in three people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms, so Community Testing is being introduced to help identify these people so that they can isolate, to help prevent outbreaks and keep rates low in the Bay.
“Community Testing is another way that you can help your employees, your customers, and your suppliers avoid COVID-19 infection in the workplace.”
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.
“Roughly one in three people have the virus without 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.
“I’m delighted that Torbay Council is working with us to roll out asymptomatic testing in Torbay, and I look forward to seeing the results.
Organisations wishing to register interest in this service are asked to contact:CommunityTesting@Torbay.gov.uk
More information about the testing facilities in Torbay is available on the website at: Testing Facilities in Torbay – Torbay Council
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