Rapid turnaround Covid tests launched for workers and emergency services staff in South Tyneside
South Tyneside Council is offering lateral flow tests to emergency services staff in the borough as well as its own workers in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Business-critical staff within the council and South Tyneside Homes, such as those working in social care or enforcement, have been invited to take the tests.
The rapid turnaround tests have also been offered to staff from partner organisations including Age Concern and Northumbria Police.
“Lateral flow tests are used in people who are not showing any symptoms of Covid-19,” the council leader, Councillor Tracey Dixon, said.
"We know one in three people without symptoms may actually be infectious without being aware. These tests will help us quickly identify those people and have them self-isolate.
"I would also like to remind those testing negative to continue to socially distance, wear a face covering, wash their hands and follow the guidance.”
She added: “We understand the Department of Health and Social Care has plans to introduce lateral flow testing for emergency services.
"However, as this is not yet in place we felt it only right to offer the tests to frontline police now to fill the gap. By offering the tests to our key partners we will hopefully be able to reduce the spread of the virus still further.”
Partner organisations have welcomed the offer of the Covid tests – which produce quicker results but are less accurate than other Covid-19 tests.
“The addition of Age Concern Tyneside South’s staff to the lateral flow testing programme has given both our staff and clients peace of mind and enabled us to do more of the things that matter to our clients,” Grahame Cassidy, Chief Officer of Age Concern Tyneside South, said.
The council says there are plans to expand testing to wider staff and potentially small businesses from other sites within the borough at a later date. For now, however, the lateral flow tests are by invitation only.
Any businesses which employ more than 50 staff can request lateral flow tests from the Government. For more information, visit: www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests.
Residents are reminded that that if anyone has Covid symptoms, they should visit one of the testing sites at Temple Park car park or Chuter Ede Community Association in South Shields or the old Jarrow Library site in Jarrow.