Businesses of all sizes can register to offer regular rapid Covid-19 testing to staff, the results of which are available to be returned in under an hour, enabling people who test positive to isolate immediately and break the chain of transmission.
Businesses have until 31 March to register for the scheme. Test kits, support, training and standard operating procedures will be provided by NHS Test and Trace. Businesses can sign up at GOV.UK.
Meanwhile, the council is encouraging sole traders, the self employed and people working for local businesses of any size to get a regular test 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 7pm daily (except this Saturday, 20 March, when testing is available from 1pm to 7pm)
- 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
Booking is not essential, but specific slots allowing employees to access a test at a convenient time without having to wait can be reserved up to 5 days in advance at Lateral Flow Testing for Businesses.
A mobile rapid testing unit is visiting various locations around the city over the coming weeks, including Wednesfield Community Hub from 8am to 7pm until this Sunday (21 March). In addition, '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 and 10am and 4pm and 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.
Councillor Stephen Simkins, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "Rapid testing is a key tool in enabling vital services and businesses to continue operating safely and to help our city to safely leave lockdown.
"We know that up to a third of individuals with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms of it and could therefore spread it to others 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 staff members who cannot work from home access rapid testing twice weekly, either at our public test centres or on site. If you are planning to sign up for the Government's workplace testing scheme, please hurry as the deadline is 31 March."
Businesses with questions about rapid testing for their workforce, or which requires support, should please email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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, including a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell. People with symptoms should immediately self isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119.
Latest figures show there were 60.9 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 14 March. That means 160 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be 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 restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.