Hydrobolt Ltd has become the latest business in Wolverhampton to introduce regular onsite Covid-19 testing to keep its staff and customers safe.
It has set up rapid testing facilities at its Monmore Business Park offices, enabling members of staff without symptoms of Covid-19 to get tested on a weekly basis.
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 Covid-19 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.
Helen Farley, Human Resources and Health and Safety Manager for Hydrobolt Group, said: "We are really glad that we have implemented onsite rapid testing at Hydrobolt; it has helped encourage people to come forward who wouldn’t normally have felt the need to have a test as they weren’t experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.
"The testing has helped us to identify positive cases at the start of a shift and implement quicker isolation measures, instead of people continuing to work and potentially spreading the virus to others."
A number of other local employers, including Andsaldo Nuclear and Wolverhampton Homes, have rolled out onsite rapid testing to their workforce, while other employers such as Wilmott Dixon Interiors, the Civic Halls contractor, are encouraging staff to get a regular test at one of the city's six public rapid test centres.
John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "Regular testing of staff will help prevent outbreaks in the workplace and keep our economy functioning, and it's great to see that responsible employers like Hydrobolt are putting a high priority on the welfare of their staff, customers, clients and the wider community by introducing routine testing in the workplace.
"We know that as many as one in three people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms – but they could still be infectious to others, and that's why regular testing is so important.
"As a council, we are encouraging all our staff who can’t work from home to get a test twice a week and those that are working from home to be tested weekly, and I would ask local employers to enable their workforce to get tested on a similarly regular basis, either at one of our six rapid test centres or by setting up testing on site, and for the self-employed and sole traders to make use of the rapid test centres.”
Free rapid testing for people without any symptoms of Covid-19 is available at:
- The Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm
- The Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road West, 10am-6.30pm daily
- Pendeford Library, Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm
- The Hub at Ashmore Park, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10am-6pm
- St Joseph’s Church, Willenhall Road, Monday-Friday, 2pm-6pm
- Bilston Community Centre, Prouds Lane, Thursday, Friday and Monday, 8am-4pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm.
'Critical workers' have priority access to rapid testing at the Civic Centre between 8am and 9am, Monday to Friday; Pendeford Library from 7am-10am and 4pm-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.
Larger businesses, those with over 50 employees, are encouraged to register their interest in delivering workplace testing by signing up at www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests.
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 www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.
For full details of all the rapid and PCR testing facilities in Wolverhampton, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus-testing.
Latest figures show there were 159.6 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the seven days to 23 February. That means 420 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that seven day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. Information about the vaccine can be found at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidvaccine. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidalert.