Subject: Covid Community Testing Programme
Dear Business Owners,
We appreciate that this may not be relevant to all business owners whose staff are unable to work due to national restrictions, however for those who are still operating and whose staff are unable to work from home, please find below an offer regarding a new testing programme.
In line with the Government's Community Testing Programme, Cheshire West annd Chester Council (CW&C) are planning to provide asymptomatic testing (testing for people without symptoms) for Covid-19 for employees of small businesses (under 250 employees) who are unable to work from home.
(Larger employers are able to access support through the National programme by emailing their company name, registration number, contact details and sector type, along with the number of employees to P-and-PSector@dhsc.gov.uk with 'Register interest for National Worker Programme' in the subject line).
Up to a 1/3 of people who test positive for coronavirus have no symptoms and can therefore spread it unknowingly.
Testing of asymptomatic individuals is an important additional tool to identify more people with the virus, and support them with self-isolation to stop the spread of the virus through communities and businesses, helping to ensure business continuity.
Early identification of infectious but asymptomatic employees will help to:
-break chains of transmission sooner
-reduce infection rates
-enable people to live and work safely during the pandemic
There are two options for testing:
1. Employees to attend a testing site in Cheshire West twice a week to take a test
These are currently located at Winsford Lifestyle Centre and Stanney Lane former leisure centre in Ellesmere Port. Others are due to open in the coming months.
2. Businesses to be trained and supported so that your own staff will be able to oversee testing on your premises.
This would involve a half day training session with CW&C, the provision of a dedicated space in which testing could take place in a socially-distanced way and tests analysed, in line with NHS guidelines, the collection of testing kits from CW&C, the registering and logging of test results on the Government portal, and removal of clinical waste (for which waste removal companies charge).
It would be helpful if you could complete the short questionnaire via this link to tell us your preference for testing employees who are unable to work from home.
This would help us to plan for the expansion of the testing sites to meet demand, and to provide sufficient training resources.
We need to move at pace to progress both options so responses by 5pm Wednesday 3rd February would be appreciated.
If you have any queries, please contact Rachel Zammit via email: PublicHealth@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk