Key workers in health & social care supply chain can now book COVID-19 tests if exhibiting symptoms
Essential workers in England, including those working in the health and social care supply chain, have been told that they or family members in their households can be tested if they are exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus.
The announcement comes as the government races to increase the number of tests being administered across England in a bid to reach its 100,000 a day target by the end of the month.
In a published by the Department of Health and Social Care, it confirmed that among the essential workers eligible for testing are those “those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines, and medical and personal protective equipment.”
Also included in the official list are frontline local authority staff, including those working with vulnerable children and adults in the community.
It will come as welcome news for many in the mobility, access and independent living sector that are continuing to carry out vital installation, servicing and collection work to help ensure people can remain independent and be cared for in the community – reducing the strain on the NHS.
Importantly, the test is aimed at those essential workers on the frontline who are exhibiting symptoms and not intended for those who are currently able to work from.
According to the government, this rollout of testing to essential workers is the biggest widening of access to coronavirus testing since the outbreak, made possible due to a substantial increase in testing capacity.
How to get tested
To facilitate quicker access to tests, the government has launched a new online system enabling essential workers or their employers to book a test for staff and their families.
Employers staff self-isolating and those employees self-isolating can book a test directly for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing symptoms – a high temperature or new continuous cough.
Essential workers using the new portal enter their details and receive a text or email the same day inviting them to either book an appointment at one of more than 30 drive-through testing sites across the country, or receive a home testing kit.
The Department of Health and Social Care says essential workers will be able to select either a regional test site drive-through appointment or a home test kit, however, highlights that home test kit availability will initially be limited.
“There is good availability of regional test sites, so please select this option if you can,” states government advice.
The testing process
The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted).
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, people should expect the results from the drive-through tests within 48 hours, whilst home test kits results will be available within 72 hours of collection from an address.
If an essential workers test result is positive, or someone they live with tests positive, they cannot return to work and must continue to self-isolate.
If the test result returns a negative result, workers in the industry can safely return back to their duties, helping increase capacity across the health and social care supply chain.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “We have already prioritised testing for patients and health and social care workers and other key workers today I can go further.
“We are making it easier, faster and simpler for any essential worker in England who needs a test to get a test. From today, employers of essential workers will be able to go on GOV.UK to get a test for any of their staff who need a test. And from tomorrow, any essential workers who need a test will be able to book an appointment on GOV.UK themselves directly.
“This all applies for people in essential workers’ households who need a test too. It’s all part of getting Britain back on her feet.”
The video from the Department of Health and Social Care below provides more information on the testing process: