Shropshire businesses urged to adopt rapid covid testing

Businesses are being encouraged to use free rapid Covid tests on their staff.

Shropshire Council says the measure – where people without symptoms are regularly tested – is one of the most effective at keeping the number of Covid cases down.

The council said that 66 businesses in the area are already using the Lateral Flow Tests (LFT), provided by the government, with training and support from the Shropshire authority.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said that the tests can help stop infections spreading out of control within workplaces.

She said: "Effective testing is integral if we are going to stop the spread of the virus here in Shropshire.

"We have already seen a strong take-up from local organisations looking to offer rapid LFT testing to their staff.

"By identifying cases quickly, they can avoid large outbreaks that can be disruptive to their operations. They will also be helping to protect vulnerable people and support the virus control efforts to get the number of cases of Covid-19 down.

“We all need to play our part in getting infections down, and regular testing is one way of reducing the number of cases.”

Bridgnorth-based Grainger & Worrall is one of the Shropshire businesses that has started providing regular testing for staff.

Adam Bramley, Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at Grainger and Worrall, said: “The testing programme delivered and supported by Shropshire Council has been fantastic. The knowledge of the council’s public health team, as well as the professional training and materials provided, have enabled us to conduct mass testing onsite.

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“It has allowed us to provide an added level of protection and reassurance to our critical workers. I would highly recommend to anyone not already signed up, to do so.”

Shropshire Council said that businesses of all sizes can register to offer regular LFTs to staff.

The results from the tests are available in about 30 minutes, enabling people who test positive to isolate immediately and break the chain of transmission.

Mrs Robinson said the testing provided a number of benefits for firms.

She said: "It allows cases and their close contacts to be identified early, avoiding large outbreaks that are very disruptive to business continuity.

"It provides staff with additional confidence that their employer is taking all possible steps to protect them from the virus.

"It allows businesses to demonstrate to the community and their customers that they are playing their part in reducing the spread of infection.

"Businesses who want to offer testing will be provided with equipment, training and all the advice they need to establish their own programmes."

The council is also urging the self employed to get a regular test at the county's rapid testing centres at the following locations: Bridgnorth Community Centre, Severn Street, Low Town, Bridgnorth, WV15 6BB; Raven House, 129 Cheshire Street, Market Drayton, TF9 3AH; The Victoria Centre, Victoria Road, Oswestry SY11 2HT.

Opening hours at the sites are from Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm. No prior booking is required.

Tests are also available at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8am-4pm.

Rapid testing by appointment is also available at council-run sites (booking required): The Lantern, Meadow Farm Drive, Harlescott, Shrewsbury, SY1 4NG; Halo, Craven Arms Community Centre, Newington Way, Craven Arms, SY7 9PS; Stanier Hall, Thomas Adams Sixth Form, Noble Street, Wem, SY4 5DT.

Tests can be booked online at shropshire.gov.uk/lfdpublictesting

Businesses that want to get the test kits can visit gov.uk, and for information about training from the council email lateralflow.phtraining@shropshire.gov.uk

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