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Practical Guidance for Testing Employees for COVID-19

United Kingdom | General information | Popularity - 0/10
Routine, high-quality testing in workplaces helps provide confidence and clarity to both employers and employees alike.
As you’ll be aware, the creation of a large-scale programme of testing and tracing is well underway in the UK. It has been designed to help us lift some of the COVID-19 restrictions that have been put in place, and to slowly restore our economy and society.
In addition to the NHS-backed testing initiative, many employers have chosen to introduce their own internal testing programmes. While it’s a completely voluntary decision for employers to run their own testing programmes, they can provide confidence to both workers and customers if done right, and may help to protect the business and allow it to continue running throughout the pandemic. Covid19 Test UK
If you’re an employer considering running your own testing programme, we’ve put together all the guidance from official government and healthcare sources to cover:
•   The legislation and regulations for employers when it comes to testing.
•   What testing is and how it works.
•   The types of test available.
•   How to interpret test results.
•   Action to take in the case of a positive test result.
Although we’ve put together this guide based on advice and information available at the time of writing, you should always double check it with current guidance from the government which may be more up to date.
What is COVID-19 testing?
Testing for COVID-19 is important for science, medicine, and public health. It helps detect people who currently have a SARS-CoV-2 infection, even those who don’t show any symptoms (i.e., those who are asymptomatic), so that they can self-isolate and prevent spreading it around to others.
COVID-19 testing can also be used for ‘contact tracing’ of potentially exposed individuals so they can be vigilant and change their behaviour if necessary, for example by going into self-isolation.
Testing information is also crucial for monitoring the number of people who are infected in a population. This helps the government and health agencies make public health decisions about what measures to put in place to contain the virus, drive down cases, and consequently save lives.
Types of COVID-19 test available
There are two main types of COVID-19 test available.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests
The most widely used type of COVID-19 test is the PCR test.
PCR is an established and highly accurate scientific technique. It is a very sensitive test that’s able to detect very low levels of genetic material in a sample. Despite this accuracy, PCR tests can still give false negative results between 2% and 29% of the time.
PCR tests work by taking a swab sample from a patient’s nose and throat. This is usually done by a doctor, nurse, or other qualified health professional. The sample is then sent off to a lab for analysis.
With PCR testing, samples need to be taken within a week after a person has first been infected, even if a patient is asymptomatic. This is because samples collected are only useful during an active SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Once an infection has cleared, PCR can’t be used and it won’t tell you if you’ve been previously infected. This is because once an infection is over, viral generic material is no longer present in the body.
Lateral flow antigen tests (LFDs/’antigen tests’)
While PCR was for a while the only test available, the government has given the green light for individuals to use a select few ‘brands’ of lateral flow COVID-19 for self-testing purposes. These can also be acquired by employers and used to test asymptomatic employees. Healgen Tests UK
Lateral flow COVID-19 tests play a different but still crucial role in the fight against COVID-19.
This is because lateral flow COVID-19 antigen tests can be used to reliably test asymptomatic individuals who do not display any symptoms. Currently, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 people have COVID-19 while asymptomatic, and thus they aren’t aware that they do. This means that they’re able to unwittingly spread the virus around.
Tests like the Healgen COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kit we sell here at HandStations help to find asymptomatic cases earlier and break the hidden chains of transmission.
Healgen antigen test are approved for public use by both the UK government and Public Health England, and each kit contains everything that’s needed to carry out the test, including clear instructions. Results are available in as little as 15 minutes, allowing for quick testing and decisive action to help curb the spread of the virus in workplaces.
If any of your employees are displaying any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they should self-isolate immediately and contact the NHS to arrange a COVID-19 PCR test. You should not encourage symptomatic employees to come to the workplace to be tested with a lateral flow kit.
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