Image Description: A yellow road sign that reads “COVID Testing Centre”.
Oxford City Council has announced that workers and volunteers in public-facing roles will be able to get a free rapid COVID-19 test as part of the symptom-free testing program.
The council announced that those who do not already have access to testing through their employer or students, who can access tests through the Early Alert Service, will be covered by the scheme. The tests will be Lateral Flow tests, which can be taken quickly and give almost immediate results.
“The free tests are for people who do not have access to workplace testing through their employer. This includes the self-employed and people who work for small businesses, for example taxi drivers, independent retailers, and tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians. The rapid spread of the highly infectious new variant of COVID-19 makes the testing of those who work outside the home an even greater priority.”
The lateral flow tests take 15 minutes and require people to swab the back of their mouth and nose. The swab is then handed to a trained staff member at the test centre. Results are emailed or texted out within an hour of the swab being handed in.
Those who test positive are told to self-isolate and are also given detailed advice and support on how to cope with this eventuality.
The testing centre is at the King’s Centre on Osney Mead Industrial Estate. Public-facing workers can book a test online and are recommended to get tested once a week.
In reaction to the news, Councillor Louise Upton said:
“Alongside the vaccine, testing for positive cases and helping people to self-isolate is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of this disease. It is great news that we can now offer regular tests for people who don’t have symptoms but who work or volunteer with the public.”
She went on to emphasise that the council is willing to provide financial and practical support to those who are struggling during the pandemic.
“I would urge all those people who are now eligible to get tested regularly and find out about self-isolation support. We still have a lot of people in hospital in Oxford suffering the horrors of serious covid, by getting tested and self-isolating you can help prevent more infections. Please do your bit to keep everyone safe.”
Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said:
“I cannot emphasise just how important this testing programme is for our communities, and to us all in our fight against this virus. If you need to leave home to work or volunteer, I would strongly encourage you to get a test as soon as possible.”
He went on to say that: “these tests do not replace the public health measures in place to stop the spread of infection.”
“So, even if you are being tested on a regular basis, you must still make sure you wash your hands regularly, stay two metres apart and wear a face covering.”
Image Credit: Tim Dennell via Creative Commons