A rapid Covid-19 testing programme has been launched at Bournes Moves in Rye Harbour as part of the government’s UK-wide continuing drive to increase the availability of testing, and the partnership between Bournes and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will use rapid lateral flow tests to work towards returning life to as near as normal as possible – and the testing of employees who can not work from home began on February 8.
Bournes says it is delighted to be partnering with DHSC to offer regular, rapid workforce testing for removals crews, and other staff who cannot work from home and might not be showing symptoms, to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it and broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and breaking chains of transmission.
With its targeted approach, this programme aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus in the highest risk areas and from the start of the pandemic, the government has been working around the clock with a range of partners to fight coronavirus.
Getting back to normal
Use of multiple testing technologies could significantly improve the detection of positive cases, so people can isolate themselves and prevent the spread of the disease. Using rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will help the government to protect those at high risk, find the virus, and help enable us to go back to as normal a way of life as possible.
Bournes will receive lateral flow tests, provided by NHS Test and Trace, as part of a programme to expand workplace testing and Bournes have set up a dedicated in-house testing facility to provide a safe space for staff to conduct their tests twice weekly. The lateral flow tests are simple with a self-administered swab which is analysed with an individual testing strip. Results are shown within 20-30 minutes and logged by Bournes into the Test and Trace system.
Anyone testing positive for the virus will self-isolate and be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 10 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.
Rapid testing helps contain virus
Utilising new technologies, such as lateral flow tests, are key to the government’s plans to roll out rapid testing – which means testing large numbers of people in a short period of time, with test results made available quickly, even on the spot. Rapid testing gives people in environments such as hospitals, schools, universities and workplaces rapid reassurance that they are not infectious or allow them to isolate more quickly if they are.
Health minister Lord Bethell said: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter Covid-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster. Rapid testing technologies hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see testing available to people across the country.
“I’m delighted that Bournes are working with us to use the latest technology, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, both in helping target the virus locally, and helping find ways to roll this technology out further soon.”
Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “The innovation and evolution of NHS Test and Trace continues to improve our detection of positive cases and I am incredibly proud of the speed at which we have been able to roll out these initiatives to protect more people more quickly. This is a national effort and a partnership of public and private sectors is instrumental in our response to this virus.
Infecting others unknowingly
“Around one in three people with Covid-19 don’t display symptoms, meaning you can infect others unknowingly. This rapid testing programme with Bournes is one of many that will inform our understanding of how rapid asymptomatic testing can be operationalised in the real world to protect those at high risk, find the virus and help us go back to as normal a way of life as possible.”
Thomas Emanuel, operations director, who is leading the pilot at Bournes said: “Since the start of the pandemic our primary concern has been for the safety of our employees, our customers and our local communities. It has been an incredibly challenging year in balancing everyone’s safety with our ability to provide an essential service to those customers who need to move to a new house, at what is a stressful time for everyone.
“We have made significant alterations to implement Covid-19 secure operating guidelines to do everything possible to reduce risk, and we are delighted to be partnering with NHS Test and Trace to provide workplace testing to go one step further. This not only means we can identify and better manage risk today, but also can play our part in supporting the government to get everyone’s life back to normal as quickly as possible.
“Bournes workplace testing programme will be conducted at our Rye site initially with the goal to roll out on a phased basis going forward. We are grateful to all our employees and DHSC for their support in delivering this testing programme.”
Source: Department of Health and Social Care and Bournes Moves
Image Credits: DHSC / Bournes .