Routine testing of employees is key to ensuring that coronavirus rates in the city continue to fall, providing confidence to workers and customers in the workplace and helping to protect and enable business continuity.
Rapid testing – a quick and easy way to test people without symptoms – is available to businesses large and small, as well as to the self employed and sole traders. People who cannot work from home are urged to get tested twice a week.
Booking is not essential, but to assist businesses to test regularly, a dedicated Business Booking Portal has been developed. Reserving a specific slot will allow employees to access a test at a convenient time without having to wait. Slots can be reserved up to 5 days in advance at Lateral Flow Testing for Businesses.
Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not have any symptoms but could still be infectious. Identifying these cases is crucial to stopping the onward transmission of the virus and reducing the risk of an outbreak, ensuring businesses can stay open and productive and keeping employees, customers, contractors and the wider community safe.
The council is inviting sole traders, the self employed and people working for small businesses to get tested at one of the city's 6 rapid test centres. These are:
- The Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm
- The Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road West, 10am to 6.30pm daily
- Pendeford Library, Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm
- The Hub at Ashmore Park, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10am to 6pm
- St Joseph’s Church, Willenhall Road, Monday to Friday, 2pm to 6pm
- Bilston Community Centre, Prouds Lane, Thursday, Friday and Monday, 8am to 4pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm
‘Critical workers’ and businesses have priority access to rapid testing at the Civic Centre between 8am and 9am, Monday to Friday; Pendeford Library from 7am to 10am and 4pm to 6pm, Monday to Friday; and Bilston Community Centre between 8am and 9am Monday, Thursday and Friday. Workers are asked to bring a form of ID to prove eligibility.
There is also a mobile rapid testing unit which will be at various locations around the city over the coming weeks.
In addition, medium and large businesses which employ 50 or more people are being encouraged to apply for the Government’s institutional testing offer, to deliver on site testing within their workplace. Test kits, support, training and standard operating procedures, will be provided by NHS Test and Trace. Businesses can sign up at GOV.UK. If a business has any questions or requires support, they should please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Stephen Simkins, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "Utilising rapid testing is a key tool in ensuring vital services and businesses can continue to operate safely and ultimately help our city out of lockdown.
"We know that up to a third of individuals who have Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms of it and could therefore spread it unknowingly. Regular testing of employees will prevent the onward transmission of the virus and protect businesses, employees and the wider community.
"I would encourage all employers in Wolverhampton to ensure that any staff members who cannot work from home are able to access rapid testing twice weekly, either at our public test centres or, in the case of larger employers, on site."
Please note, rapid testing is not available to people who have been told to self isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or to anyone with symptoms of Covid-19. People with symptoms, including a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, should immediately self isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119.
Further advice and guidance on operating businesses in a Covid-secure manner can be found at Trade with Confidence. For further support, call the Environmental Health team on 01902 551155. Information about business grants can be found at Government Business Grants.
Latest figures show there were 111.3 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 27 February. That means 293 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Information about the vaccine can be found at Covid-19 Vaccine. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.