People who are classed as 'critical workers' and are unable to work from home 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.
Rapid testing, which uses lateral flow test technology to provide results in under an hour, can identify cases in people who don't have any symptoms of the virus but who could still be infectious. Anyone who tests positive is then able to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus to others.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "As many as one in three people with coronavirus don’t have any symptoms, but could still infect others.
"Rapid testing is a key way in which we can find these asymptomatic cases and take action to break the chain of transmission before they unwittingly spread the virus to friends, family and work colleagues. That's why we’re encouraging people without symptoms to get tested.
"We all have a key role to play in our city's fight against Covid-19, particularly our critical workers, and I would encourage staff who cannot work from home at this time to take advantage of the priority testing slots available at the Civic Centre, Pendeford Library and Bilston Community Centre.
“Regular testing of staff will help prevent outbreaks in the workplace and keep our economy functioning, so I would also urge employers to do everything they can to enable their workforce to attend on a regular basis."
Among those employers already benefitting from the rapid testing of staff is Wilmott Dixon Interiors, the Civic Halls contractor. Work on the iconic venue is being kept on track with contractors and sub-contractors working on the transformational project taking regular rapid tests at the neighbouring Civic Centre.
Phil Crowther, Director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for construction. The safety of our team remains the highest priority to us which is why we’ve adopted Government-backed safety measures across the site, including social distancing practices.
“We have also made it mandatory for our team to regularly undertake rapid testing to reduce the risk of Covid-19 on site. In doing this we have been able to keep our people safe and minimise project delays. Our people and supply chain partners have quickly adapted to this new way of working and have embraced technology to keep everyone safe.”
Critical workers are defined as those whose work is critical to the Covid-19 and EU transition response, including people working in health and social care, education and childcare, key public services, food supply and other services. Please visit GOV.UK for the full list.
As well as priority slots for critical staff, rapid testing is available to anyone without symptoms of Covid-19, including employees, at:
- 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, 10am to 4pm, 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
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, which include a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell. They should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK.
For full details of all the rapid and PCR testing facilities in Wolverhampton, please visit Coronavirus Testing.
Latest figures show there were 317.1 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 4 February. That means 834 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. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at Covid Alert.