Asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing for businesses
Although advice from government is changing frequently, it’s now clear is that companies with over 50 employees can apply to run their own asymptomatic lateral flow test sites. This is non trivial so it will make sense for operators to coordinate and streamline this activity where possible. I have prepared some rough notes on how this works which will shortly appear on our website but in the meantime, the best way to find out how to do this is via the daily introductory webinars, currently being held at 2pm for 45 minutes. Link provided below. The slides from the sessions are below, as is the guidebook mentioned in the webinars. However, you MUST complete the training and sign the govt. Ts and Cs provided before you run a test site.
Introductory overview session- 1 (45 minutes), to provide an overview of testing and answering initial questions
- High level overview of Mass Testing for surveillance and Daily Contact Testing to provide understanding of the processes and what is required
- Lateral Flow Technology and reason for using
- Frequency of testing
- Resources required
- Test Site requirement
Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer or mobile app
Join with a video conferencing device
Video Conference ID: 125 385 330 9
Or call in (audio only)
+44 20 3443 8728,,273694178# United Kingdom, London
Phone Conference ID: 273 694 178#
There is also a more detailed session for those planning to operate a test site daily from 2.30 to 4 until at least the end of this week. The primary source of information is the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC). Here’s the announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-boost-to-rapid-workplace-testing and you can start the process here: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests
While government is suggesting that twice weekly tests are advisory they are not mandatory. Companies can choose whether to mandate testing in line with their business continuity and infection control measures. This is funded by Government up to March 31st and currently in England only but this may change. These webinars should shortly be available via a digital platform so that you can watch them at any time. We will post the link as soon as we have it.
What is Asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing and why is it useful?
The purpose of lateral flow testing is to screen communities because around 1/3 of infected people are asymptomatic and government estimates that at least 50% of COVID-19 infection is spread this way. At present it is not envisaged that people will have to take a test and show negative result before they arrive on site, but will be encouraged to undertake regular (twice a week) tests and may be asked to show that recent test results are negative. The tests are much faster, but slightly less accurate than PCR testing. Negative test results do NOT reduce the need for PPE or other infection controls, whether the test was PCR or lateral flow. This useful video explains lateral flow testing, why it is appropriate for large scale screening and what the caveats are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ_8b_Ydsv0 Lateral flow testing is for asymptomatic people who cannot work from home. Those with any symptoms should book PCR tests.
Additional resources:Introduction to LFD Testing in the Workplace vF 3FEB21.pptx LFT Asymptomatic Testing Guidebook_V2.5.pptx
Emma Fryer is Associate Director at techUK, the trade association for the UK technology industry.
Emma has worked in and around the technology industry for the last 15 years in a range of non-technical roles that include research and report writing, policy work (from political liaison to detailed negotiations) and project management.
Her first degree was in English at the University of Durham, followed some years later by a second degree in Environmental Science at the University of London. She is now completing an MSc in Environmental Decision Making with the Open University.
She spent five years representing the technology sector in policy matters relating to climate change. Her focus was split between encouraging government to make their policy tools fit for purpose and explaining how the intelligent use of ICT can reduce net carbon emissions.
More recently she has focused on Data Centres. She manages the UK Council of Data Centre Operators and techUK’s Data Centres Technical Committee and, with their support, has achieved some major outcomes for the sector, the most significant of which was negotiating and implementing the Climate Change Agreement for Data Centres. This, after a four-year marathon of evidence gathering and policy dialogue, was confirmed in December 2013 and came into force on 1st July 2014. It is worth around £200M to the sector. In recognition of her work she won the DataCenterDynamics Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Industry” in 2013. TechUK also won the “Effective Voice” category of the Association Network Awards in 2014 in recognition of way the CCA campaign had been managed.
She has also produced a significant body of work including formal and informal policy responses, white papers, overviews, briefings, high level thought leadership papers and illustrated infographics explaining complex technologies in laymans' terms - plus everything in between.
Emma is a judge for both the leading industry awards providers: BroadGroup and DataCenterDynamics. She is a regular speaker at industry events.