Essex County Council Calls for Businesses to Offer COVID Testing

Essex County Council encourages businesses with under 50 employees to frequently test their staff to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

As the rollout of COVID-19 testing continues in Essex, the council aims to keep cases within the county to a minimum. By testing all employees, carriers of the virus that are asymptomatic will be identified and instructed to self-isolate to stop the risk of spreading within the workplace.

1 in 3 people with COVID-19 show no signs, but with frequent testing, the potential widespread of the virus can be minimised.

This approach is to be applied to companies that cannot work from home due to the nature of their work, such as restaurants, and retailers.

Essex County Council has agreed to support the businesses that aim to offer testing provisions for their employees with training and access to testing kits.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health at Essex County Council, acknowledges the work local businesses are doing and in a statement said: “We know workplaces are doing what they can to limit the spread of Covid-19 and increased and regular testing will further support these efforts, allowing businesses to stay on top of any potential outbreaks.

“Regular testing will not only provide employees with reassurance that they do not have the virus, [but] it will also help to increase customer confidence in businesses where employees are required to interact with members of the public on a regular basis.”

As the country has made significant improvements and is following the government’s planned roadmap without delay, everyone is encouraged to test themselves regularly to prevent an outbreak. The tests that are to be provided to businesses are rapid tests that are easy to use and provides the results promptly. 

Image via Visit Colchester

Some businesses in the Colchester area support the initiative and have accepted the help and supplies from the council.

Shawn, an engineer that works in the North Essex area, said: “My company has filled out the form and will be setting up weekly testing for all the employees.

“It not only keeps the cases in the area down, but it will keep my engineers safe, who have to frequently travel between different buildings and locations.”

Similarly, Tina, who runs a small florist with 4 employees said: “To be able to work again has been wonderful. If that means I need to get frequently tested, then so be it.”

However, Sam, who owns a café in Greenstead said: “It seems like a lot of effort and pressure put on businesses to provide the testing Why can’t people get themselves tested in their own time, and how will the council know if we test our staff or not?”

If a positive result is tested, an immediate PCR test is required to confirm the results. That person will also be required to quarantine, and financial support is available to help those who would not be able to work during that time. 

Businesses that have not yet set up the provision of testing, but fit the criteria, can find more information, and fill in a form by visiting the council’s site at essex.gov.uk/getting-tested-for-covid-19/workplace-testing.

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