Businesses of all sizes can register to order lateral flow tests for their workers. Rapid Covid-19 testing, where results can be returned in under an hour, will enable people who test positive to isolate immediately, helping to break the chain of transmission.
Businesses have until 31 March to register for the scheme, which will remain free until the end of June. 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 inviting sole traders, the self employed and people working for local businesses of any size to get a regular test at 1 of the city's 6 rapid test centres. These are:
- The Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Monday-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.
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.
‘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.
A mobile rapid testing unit is visiting various locations around the city over the coming weeks, including Low Hill Community Centre from 8am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm until this Sunday (14 March).
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 staff members who cannot work from home access rapid testing twice weekly, either at our public test centres or on site."
If a business has any questions about rapid testing for their workforce, or requires support, they should please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 63 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 7 March. That means 166 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.