Bedford residents who are in contact with other members of the public as part of their work are now able to access free, rapid Covid-19 (coronavirus) tests and are encouraged to take a test twice a week.
This includes retail workers, childminders, bus and taxi drivers, construction workers and tradespeople like plumbers or electricians. Testing is also available for pregnant women and their partners prior to attending key maternity appointments.
Bedford Borough Council, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, has launched the free community testing initiative for workers without symptoms.
Around one in three people who are infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms, so they could be spreading the disease without knowing it.
Identifying positive cases more quickly will help to break chains of transmission and control the virus.
Rapid ‘no symptom’ testing is available to anyone who lives or works in Bedford Borough who is unable to work from home and is not able to access testing through their employer.
Regular testing is particularly important if you go into other people’s homes or come into contact with other people as part of your job.
Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We strongly urge those who are coming into contact with other people through their work to get tested twice a week, ideally 3-4 days apart.
“Getting one of these tests is the responsible thing to do and could stop you from unknowingly spreading the virus.”
The tests are free, there is no need to book an appointment and proof of eligibility is not required.
The self-administered test takes 10 minutes and the results are usually sent by text message within an hour. A negative rapid test does not completely rule out infection, so it is important that individuals and business continue to follow COVID-secure guidelines.
The new ‘no symptom’ rapid test site is located at the John Bunyan Sports & Fitness Centre, Mile Road, MK42 9TS.
Testing is available from 7am to 12 noon, and from 1pm to 7pm, Monday to Friday.
People with COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste) should self-isolate immediately and book a standard PCR test by visiting the government website or calling 119.
Businesses of all sizes are being encouraged to set up their own rapid testing schemes. Employers can access information and register an interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or via this link gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests.
Further information on rapid ‘no symptom’ testing can be found on the council’s website here.