February 2, 2021 10.31 am This story is over 37 months old

Back to work: Plans for Lincolnshire firms to mass test staff

Large employers set to have their own rapid testing sites

Large employers in Lincolnshire could be asked to carry out asymptomatic rapid COVID testing as part of a planned package of government and council support.

Lincolnshire County Council is hoping the government will approve a new protocol which will allow partner organisations to set up their own lateral flow rapid testing sites.

Nearly 9,500 tests have been carried at the existing four locations in Lincolnshire — two in Lincoln and two in Boston — with more than 120 asymptomatic positive people being found and asked to isolate, a positivity rate of 1.3%.

Andy Fox, consultant in public health at Lincolnshire County Council, said the team were in discussions with central government, who were leading on expansion of the testing regime.

Under the plans, large employers would work directly with the Department for Health and Social Care to get tests, while smaller employers would receive packages of support from the county council.

Mr Fox said his colleagues were still waiting for further clarification on how it might work. But he said the latest testing figures showed “pretty small levels”.

“The main protection against COVID transmission is people who are symptomatic going to get a test and self-isolating, but it does show there’s a small amount of cases of people who don’t have any symptoms.”

The testing centre at St Swithin’s, off Croft Street in Lincoln. | Photo: Stuart Wilde for CoLC

These are the latest asymptomatic testing figures up to January 31:

  • Sincil Bank (Lincoln): 2,366 tests, 42 positives, 1.78% positivity rate
  • Haven High (Boston): 2,318, 21, 0.91%
  • Peter Paine (Boston): 3,699,  47, 1.27%
  • St Swithin’s (Lincoln): 1,071, 13, 1.21%
  • Total: 9,454, 123, 1.3% average positivity rate

The number of cases across the county are also decreasing and Mr Fox said the latest statistics showed that lockdown is working – with Lincolnshire around half the infection rate it was at the peak of the latest wave.

Recent reports showed East Lindsey was one of only a few areas of the UK to increase its infection rate, with the number rising in the latest figures to 122.8 per 100,000 population. However, Mr Fox said there were no major concerns.

He said the numbers were some of the lowest in the country, and so any small spike could cause a major change to the infection rate, so he expected to see some fluctuation.

Mr Fox praised the roll-out of the vaccine and said that once the impacts were felt in a couple of weeks time “that’s when we will start to feel the end game changing”.