Over the weekend the Government confirmed their rollout of Local Asymptomatic Testing programmes for staff who are still at work, by that they mean staff working at your business premise.
Remember the advice in Lockdown 3 is more stringent compared to Lockdown 2, employers must do everything possible to facilitate home working. However, if you need staff to operate at your business premises, you may want to consider accessing the free tests which will be available* locally to identify Asymptomatic staff, who can then immediately self-isolate.
*Note: we state “which will be available” as it’s our current experience suggests that not all local authorities are set up yet.
If you are in a situation where you have no cases, you have not been contacted by test and trace and have no staff isolating, then testing your staff should provide a level of confidence for all, that your staff are COVID-free and you are not adding to the spread of the virus without knowing it.
If you have had cases and have actioned test and trace recommendations or have staff self-isolating due to coming into contact with COVID outside of work, and you need some indication that staff attending work are not COVID-positive without symptoms, then again this free test will provide some level of assurance and confidence.
Asymptomatic testing to be rolled out across the country starting this week
You also need to be aware of the change in relation to what constitutes close contact. Close Contact Definition has now changed to Cumulative: It was based on 15 mins contact time, it’s now 15 mins over the course of the day.
This will impact your business if you have any test and trace cases or positive cases at work, the potential number of staff that will need to self-isolate, as a result of the new definition, will increase if you don’t revise working methods or introduce suitable control measures, so a review of your COVID Risk Assessments, Control measures and the safe working practices would be a sensible action.
The new definition is detailed in the updated Guidance as follows.
An overview of NHS Test and Trace, including what happens if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.
Updated a definition of close contact: being within 2 metres of a positive case for more than 15 minutes (the time is now cumulative).
12:15am, 11 January 2021
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If you have any doubts about local testing for staff or the new definition of Close Contact, then please call your lead H&S Consultant, if you don’t benefit from our H&S service and need help , just call and we will agree a solution to provide the assistance you need, now is not the time to be alone or be using a DIY service, lean on us, you are never alone with Park City and we are stronger together.