Businesses in Wirral are being offered the chance to take part in a rapid mobile testing programme to help identify infection amongst their workforce and avoid outbreaks.
The pilot is part of the council’s plans to increase access to testing for COVID-19 in those sectors that cannot work from home and high-risk groups.
One of the first companies to take part is Biffa waste management company, whose Wirral operations are based in Bromborough and is the firm responsible for the borough’s household bin collections and street cleansing.
Cllr Yvonne Nolan, Chair of Adult Social Care and Public Health said, “One in three people who are infected display no symptoms and it is vitally important to identify infection before it is spread unknowingly. The rapid mobile testing pilot means we can deliver regular testing at business premises to suit the employers and their employees. We have worked with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to re-deploy two vehicles to support this work so we can take the testing to where it is needed most.”
The pilot is delivered by Wirral Council’s testing team and uses lateral flow tests which are easy to use and quick to return a result, often within 30 minutes, so that the person tested can find out if they are safe to continue in their job role or whether they need to self-isolate.
Gary Robinson, Senior Business Manager at Biffa said, “Biffa is delighted to be supported by Wirral Council in carrying out on-site Covid-19 testing at our Wirral depot. We are proud to have continued to work through the pandemic, providing essential services to residents and Covid-19 testing at our depot will allow us to continue to do this and keep our people safe. We have almost 200 employees, and the lateral flow testing service provides weekly testing, which is a fantastic achievement by the testing team.”
Cllr Nolan added: “We know that men are less likely to come forward for testing, but they also tend to have worse outcomes if they get COVID-19. By agreeing to take part, Biffa is helping their workforce, many of whom represent that harder-to-reach group, to keep themselves well. Biffa is also showing its commitment to supporting their workforce to self-isolate if they do test positive which is key to breaking the chain of transmission. I would urge other employers to follow their lead.”
Risk assessments are carried out at each setting before the testing is agreed to ensure a safe environment exists for all with the testing delivered by experienced, trained staff from the Council.
The pilot will inform how testing is delivered in a way that is flexible and sustainable in the longer term and based on local intelligence. This intelligence is provided by the Council’s COVID-19 Outbreak Hub to ensure support is targeted where it is needed most.
The Council is working with The Chamber of Commerce to identify other businesses who could benefit from the rapid mobile testing but if you run a business and would like to know more about the testing offer available in Wirral please get in touch with the Council’s testing team at: [email protected]
Wirral Council is especially interested in involving businesses:
- Small to medium enterprises with under 50 employees
- Sole traders
- Those companies operating in the construction, manufacturing, warehousing and food production sectors
- That employ ‘routine’ and manual workers
- That have appropriate space to set up to deliver rapid testing