The Department for Health is encouraging employers to use the free rapid Covid-19 testing that is available now that staff are returning to work as furlough and home working is coming to an end. It is very important that staff are tested on a regular basis, as it is in this way that asymptomatic cases can be discovered and they can be isolated before they can pass the virus on to any of their colleagues.
Covid-19 Testing Scheme
Here are the details on how different sized businesses can access this Covid-19 testing scheme, as set out in an article on the BBC News NI website:
“Small businesses, with fewer than 10 employees, can order tests online for home delivery or collect free tests from any of the 8 sites across Northern Ireland.
“Employers with more than 10 employees can submit an expression of interest online and the Department will identify the most appropriate form of testing.
“Larger businesses can set up and run Assisted Testing Sites, where the regular workforce testing will be overseen.”
600 Expressions Of Interest From Various Businesses
Talking about the introduction of the scheme in the same article, Matt Wills, director of expansion of rapid testing, said: “The original programme was based on healthcare workers, then it moved on to schools, but for the rest of society, the workplace that’s now part of the expansion programme.
“Since March, we have had about 600 expressions of interest from the private sector – 170 of those we have brought forward on to the digital platform where you apply online to receive kits.”
Helping Make Staff Feel More Confident Going Into Work
Belfast-based manufacturer Andor Technology are using the assisted workforce testing and in the same article Andor’s director of engineering Claire Greenwood said:
“From a business point of view, we’ve got staff who are safe and healthy but there’s also that engagement that they feel we are making them feel more confident about coming to work,” she said.
“It also helps with business continuity and makes sure we can continue to operate fully as a business.”
This is a scheme that is certainly worth looking at if you run a business, whatever size that business is. It will help give peace of mind to employees, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to the virus than the average person, and will help in reducing the transmission of it which is such an important component in winning the fight against Covid-19.