Take one for the team. Let's all get tested regularly to stop the spread and make that July 19th plan a reality.
The government has announced a roadmap out of lockdown as the number of cases of Coronavirus across the country is dropping.
However, despite the optimism of the government’s plans, it is important to keep Covid-19 rates low here in Doncaster. Many new cases come from occupational transmission between working age people in businesses still able to trade.
If we want the roadmap to work and for Doncaster to return to a level of normality in the weeks to come, we urgently need to pull together to reduce our rates and tackle transmission within workplaces.
We all want to get back to some sort of normality and the business community can really help speed up this process by initiating the following measures and procedures. Without the support of Doncaster’s business community, a return to normal could be a long way off yet.
Many people infected with Covid-19 suffer no symptoms but still risk passing it on to their colleagues, family, friends and others.
As well as the obvious health risks, if the virus is allowed to spread quickly through a workplace it can seriously disrupt the vital services we all depend on.
Many people in Doncaster are in jobs that can’t be done from home, increasing the risk of coronavirus spread.
Providing regular rapid testing for employees who are not showing symptoms of Coronavirus has a crucial part to play in helping us reduce our rates in Doncaster.
Regular testing (ideally twice a week with three days between tests) allows us to identify those who previously would have been unaware that they were carrying and spreading the virus, and to support them with isolating.
All businesses in Doncaster that are still operating can access regular testing for asymptomatic employees. Any business can arrange this via the national testing programme at: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests
If an employee is showing Covid-19 symptoms, they should return home immediately, they should not come in to work and should self-isolate, along with all members of their household, while they await a PCR test.
Tests for symptomatic people can be booked via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
One in three people don’t have any coronavirus symptoms, so employees should always act like they have got it. Hands – face – space might be getting old now, but it is still absolutely vital. If staff are physically too close together, not wearing masks and are not practicing good hygiene, then they could be spreading the virus.
Businesses are being reminded that social distancing, wearing a face covering and handwashing are still the best actions to take to help keep ourselves and our loved ones COVID-safe.
If an employee has been told to stay at home and self-isolate, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus, have symptoms and are waiting for a test, or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, it is vital that they do so to stop the spread of the virus.
It is critically important that employees who need to isolate feel supported to do so.
Financial support is available for employees who will lose income due to needing to self-isolate. Further information can be found here: https://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/emergencies/coronavirus-financial-advice
If your staff have to travel into work, talk to them about how they can do that in a safer way. Walking or cycling if they can is encouraged, and if they car share or take the bus – they need to take precautions, outlined in the government guidance.
Our data shows that car sharing remains a key cause of coronavirus cases across Doncaster, so discouraging employees from doing this wherever possible is key in reducing the borough’s rates.
Under the current national restrictions, when car sharing you should only travel in groups of no more than 6 people, or 2 households, unless you are travelling for a reason that is exempt.
Employees who have no alternative but to car share should make sure they are sharing the transport with the same people each time, minimising group size, opening windows for ventilation and wearing a face covering at all times.
Seating arrangements should be considered to maximise distance between people in the vehicle and the car should be cleaned between journeys, particularly touch points such as door handles.
By reinforcing this guidance to your employees, you can help us reduce the transmission rate.
Everybody is now familiar with social distancing. It has become a way of life for most of us, yet we still hear reports of distancing measures not being enforced in some workplaces.
This increases the rate of transmission, so we are asking employers to review their current social distancing policies and ensure at least 2m is being maintained between people at all times.
This includes discouraging groups from gathering in smoking shelters in the day, or bus shelters when they leave the workplace.
With the new variant accountable for over 90 per cent of cases in Doncaster, we know the virus is capable of travelling fast. Reminding employees to keep their distance is a simple yet highly effective way to tackle this problem.
Doncaster is now at the stage where we need to do more to drive down our rates further. By pulling together and doing all we can to reduce transmission, we can return to normality as planned in the roadmap.
It is in our own hands locally to keep ourselves and our loved ones, staff and customers safe. In short – it is down to all of us, so let’s do it for Doncaster.
The expansion of workplace testing will identify more positive cases of COVID-19 and ensure those infected isolate. This will reduce the spread of the virus and protect those who cannot work from home, and our vital services.
This programme is crucial given that around 1 in 3 people who are infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.
We want as many employers as possible to sign up to regularly test their employees. This will reduce the risk of transmission among those who cannot work from home and ensure vital public and economic services can continue.
Testing can provide confidence to workers and customers in the workplace, helping to protect and enable business continuity.
Lateral flow testing is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.
The tests are easy to use and give results in less than 30 minutes. Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. They are designed to be intuitive and require minimal training to operate.
Those who test positive must immediately self-isolate to avoid passing the virus on to others.
Read understanding lateral flow antigen testing for people without symptoms for further information.
It is recommended that private-sector employers offer their workforce (who are on-site) access to a minimum of 2 lateral flow tests every week. This will help identify staff who are carrying the virus without displaying symptoms, reducing the risk of transmission.
Every employer and every sector is unique. So, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) aims to be pragmatic about which delivery channels can be used.
This is in line with the ambition to provide as many people as possible who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and need to leave home for work with access to testing.
There are 3 options for businesses:
Employers can set up their own on-site testing programmes, outside of that which currently exists with the NHS Test and Trace service.
For more information, register to order coronavirus tests for your employees.
DHSC is aware of accredited third-party private sector (non-NHS) providers who may be able to provide on-site COVID-19 testing services.
Employers who would like on-site testing but would prefer an accredited private provider to organise and run the testing on their behalf can partner with one of the providers on the list of providers: general testing.
Employers will need to pay for this service provision, but are still eligible to order the free government testing kits by registering to order workplace coronavirus tests. The onus falls upon the employer to ensure that they order the test kits.
In partnering with a third-party provider, responsibility still lies upon the employer to ensure that they register to order a sufficient number of test kits.
For organisations in the public and private sector that have fewer than 50 employees, access to testing is through local authorities who have established testing sites for those without symptoms within their local areas.
If you are an organisation with fewer than 50 employees, a sole trader, self-employed or a member of the general public, please visit https://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/health-wellbeing/covid19-testing to find out more.
Find out a list of essential workers prioritised for PCR testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/essential-workers-prioritised-for-covid-19-testing
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