The military have been praised for their efforts in rolling out the Covid-19 rapid testing programme for 194 businesses and organisations across Preston and Lancashire.Advertisement
In December, the ‘UK Resilience Unit’, made up of 325 army service personnel from regiments across the country, began providing testing kits and training for large organisations and small local businesses.
While the testing will still continue, the unit’s involvement in Lancashire finished last week.
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The unit has been using Lateral Flow Tests with businesses and organisations in the county, to identify people who may have Covid-19 but are showing no symptoms.
Alongside the testing, army service personnel have been providing businesses with the training they need to continue testing their employees in the future.
In total, the unit carried out 33,232 tests with 455 positive results.
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Rapid testing is part of the Covid response in the county, which is co ordinated by the Lancashire Resilience Forum and brings together public bodies including councils, police, fire, and health.
Neil Jack, chair of the regional co-ordination group on the LRF, said:
“We are very grateful for the UK Resilience Unit’s commitment to testing and training both small and large employers in the county, and we will continue to follow this successful model to keep the people of Lancashire safe.
“Thank you to the armed forces for their work in Lancashire, which helped to organise and implement the testing, and put us into a position where we can take it on ourselves and continue it.
“I would urge any business who hasn’t already taken up this programme and help us to prevent the spread of the virus.
“While the official guidance is to work from home if we can, this simply isn’t an option for many people. Around 1 in 3 people who test positive for Covid have no symptoms at all and can spread it unknowingly, which is why rapid testing is vital if we are to keep people safe at work and save lives.”
SMART testing (Sustained, Meaningful, Asymptomatic, Repeated Testing) uses rapid tests which provide results within 30 minutes and help to identify people who are infectious but are not showing symptoms.
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Lancashire has been given government funding to expand asymptomatic testing for Covid, and Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council are asking local businesses who cannot work from home to take part in the testing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their workforces now and in the future.
Staff will be given a Lateral Flow Test, which involves the person taking a swab of their throat and nose.
This is then analysed and the result is sent to them automatically via text or email within around 30 minutes of the test.
To find out more about how you can get involved, go to: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/coronavirus-updates/smart-mass-testing-for-workplaces/
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