Health and Wellbeing

Businesses encouraged to use Community Testing to help prevent the spread of coronavirus

car driver pulls up with window down in order to take the swab and do the test

Posted on: 11 February 2021

Devon County Council is contacting businesses in the Exeter area to encourage firms whose staff attend the workplace rather than work from home, to take up lateral flow tests to identify carriers of the virus, if they’re not already accessing regular testing.

The Council is setting up Community Testing sites across the county, with rapid tests that provide results within the hour.

The first one has been set up at County Hall, Exeter, with others to follow in coming weeks.

The Community Testing Centres are being used by anyone whose job or volunteering work requires them to leave the house and be in contact with others, including people caring for others, either paid or voluntary.

With many organisations still open, and with employees and volunteers who can’t work from home having to go out to work, the risk of catching the virus and spreading it to others remains a concern, says Public Health Devon.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said:

“Coronavirus thrives on contact with others.  The more we come into contact with other people, the more opportunity we give the virus to spread.  Many people are still working and volunteering, and those who can’t do that from home are going to the workplace, with their colleagues.  Some people, taxi drivers or shop workers for example, might also come into direct contact with the public.

“We want people who are going in to work, paid or as a volunteer, and whose roles puts them in contact with others, to start being tested at our Community Testing Centres, if they’re not already accessing regular testing elsewhere.”

Larger employers – those with more than 50 employees – can now set up their own workplace testing facilities to regularly test their employees for coronavirus, and there is government help for those businesses that can do that.

“That’s great, but while that might not be practical for all employers, businesses can use the Community Testing Centres that we are setting up now to identify any of their staff who may be carriers and potential spreaders of the virus without them even knowing it.

“One in every three people with coronavirus show no symptoms of carrying it, and therefore do not know they have it.  They can however still transmit it unknowingly through contact with others.

“People whose jobs bring them face to face with others each day, and who do not show any symptoms of having coronavirus, are encouraged to take these quick tests twice a week.  They will quickly tell a person whether they are likely to have coronavirus, allowing them to either carry on their work if the test is negative, or begin self-isolating if their test is positive. If someone gets a negative result, they must continue to follow ‘COVID-secure’ messages around hand washing, face coverings and maintaining distance from others.

“This testing is for people who are not showing symptoms of having coronavirus.  Anyone showing symptoms of having the virus – new and continuous cough, high temperature, and change to their usual sense of smell or taste – should apply to the national testing programme.”

To book a rapid test and to find out more about Community Testing in Devon, visit devon.cc/testing

The exact locations for the sites are yet to be announced, however they will be in the following areas.  Most will be fixed sites, but some will be mobile facilities that can reach more rural areas of the county.

Barnstaple

Honiton

Newton Abbot

Tiverton

Exmouth

Tavistock

Sidmouth

Seaton

Axminster

Ottery St Mary

Okehampton

Ivybridge

Bideford

Cullompton

Kingsbridge

Exeter (x2)

Woolacombe

Ilfracombe

Lynton

Posted in: Community | DCC Homepage | Health and Wellbeing