Herefordshire businesses, unable to offer their employees workplace COVID-19 rapid testing, are being encouraged to sign up to a new system enabling them to obtain home test kits for staff.

The government initiative is open to any business with more than 10 employees and, to take part, they will have to register by 11.59pm on Monday April 12.

The workplace testing programme will, from Tuesday April 6, begin supplying home test kits to eligible companies where it is not possible to set up testing on-site due, for example, to a lack of space or because companies operate across multiple locations.

Once registered, they can order the kits online to distribute to their employees. These self-test kits will enable staff to complete the home test and report their results to the NHS. Clear instruction are provided with the kits.

The workplace testing programme uses lateral flow devices (LFD) to rapidly detect the virus in 30 minutes. Swift detection of cases means those who test positive can isolate immediately and, in doing so, help to break chains of transmission and suppress the virus.

Herefordshire Pubic Health Consultant Sarah Smith said:

“This development is a welcome addition to the COVID-19 rapid testing options available to local businesses.

“Although some businesses have already signed up to workplace testing, it is not practical for all of them in Herefordshire and supplying home test kits for workers will enable more people without symptoms to do rapid testing. I encourage all businesses in the county to take up this offer to help keep staff and customers safe.

“Around one in three people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Extending employee testing in this way will help us identify more cases, so positive cases can self-isolate and prevent the virus from spreading.

“Regular testing could be the difference between a workplace being able to stay open or needing to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak.”

Many businesses in Herefordshire have already registered to run work-place rapid testing for staff through the government’s workplace testing programme and registration remains open until 11.59pm on April 12. The tests are free until the end of June.

Employers with fewer than 10 people can access regular testing through Herefordshire’s community testing programme. For details visit Herefordshire Council website.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms – symptoms – a new continuous cough, high temperature, change or loss of smell and/or taste – should self-isolate immediately and book a test online or by calling NHS 119. Home test kits can also be ordered.

To protect yourself and others, you must remember: Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

  • Hands – wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.
  • Fresh Air – only meet those not in your household or bubble outdoors.
  • Vaccination – take up COVID-19 vaccination when you are invited to do so.