Over 3000 coronavirus tests have been carried out at local Blackpool testing hubs on workers who must leave home to go to work during the national lockdown. Testing hubs have been opened in central, north and south Blackpool to allow those workers leaving home for work to receive a rapid COVID-19 test result in 30 minutes.The hubs, set up by Blackpool Council’s public health team and facilitated by health services provider FCMS, are carrying out over a thousand tests per week on average. Along with workplace rapid testing, which has been set up at schools and local businesses, almost 4000 staff who need to leave home to work are now being tested in Blackpool each week.The government announced the rollout of testing to people who cannot work from home on 10 January. The programme to expand asymptomatic testing was introduced as evidence shows around 1 in 3 people have coronavirus without actually displaying any symptoms.Anybody leaving home for work during the national lockdown is being advised to get tested every 3-5 days. Those still going out to work in Blackpool are encouraged to attend testing sessions at the hubs regularly, to prevent asymptomatic carriers of the virus from spreading it unknowingly in the community.The testing hubs are using lateral flow tests which are quick to use and give rapid results in 30 minutes. Workers do not have to book in for an asymptomatic test at the hubs and can simply turn up to their nearest testing session.It is essential that those attending testing hubs have no coronavirus symptoms and feel completely well. It is also vital they do not attend if they have been in contact with anybody they suspect may have coronavirus symptoms.For those who do test negative – it’s important to note the test is not a green light to behave differently. This is a ‘red light’ test – the aim is to find those in the community who have coronavirus without realising it and get them to self-isolate immediately, so they do not infect others.People who test negative in a lateral flow test could still be in the early stages of infection where coronavirus levels are not yet high enough to show up in the result, so workers are urged to remain vigilant and continue to follow national guidelines at all times.Dr. Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health at Blackpool Council said:“I am delighted that so many workers in Blackpool who are having to leave home to go to work at the moment have accessed testing at the new hubs we have set up. Getting regularly tested not only gives workers and their families peace of mind, but it will also help to stop the spread of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable in our community, who are most at risk from coronavirus.“Around 1 in 3 people have no symptoms when they have coronavirus. That’s a huge number of people who could still be going out into the community and unknowingly spreading the virus. We hope that by making asymptomatic testing easily available to those still going out to work, that we can break the chain of transmission swiftly, and effectively save lives because of it.”You can get details about symptom-free testing sessions, including times and venues atwww.blackpool.gov.uk/
GettingTestedEmployers who want to set up symptom-free testing in their workplace can now register online: www.blackpool.gov.uk/ WorkplaceTestingSymptomatic testing is also available in Blackpool. Anybody who has symptoms of coronavirus or feels unwell should book a test at a local testing site using the national booking system: www.gov.uk/get- coronavirus-test or by calling 119.