Swabbing update

Content originally from Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership

There is a national programme for swabbing and now a local programme for swabbing in care homes, where a service commissioned by Mid and South Essex CCGs will arrange to visit care homes to swab residents and staff who meet the criteria.

If an NHS employee or a member of their household experiences COVID-19 symptoms, they should first tell their employer. Those eligible for a test will be directed to the most appropriate place for testing. Tests may take place at either:

  • a local acute, mental health and community hospital trust with NHS staff delivering the tests; or
  • local community venues and outreach testing centres with NHS staff delivering the tests.

If a member of staff tests negative, then they can return to work if they are well enough to do so and should discuss this with their employing organisation. If an individual living in the same household as a member of the NHS family tests negative then the NHS worker can return to work without being tested, as long as they remain symptom free and the whole household can come out of self-isolation.

In addition, the government has established several methods for essential workers to get a test, including all those working for the NHS. These include:

  • One of the many large regional testing centres. These are run across the country by the Department of Health and Social Care. Many different organisations are involved in running the individual sites, often based in retail area car parks
  • Smaller drive-through sites where NHS staff or other teams will provide kits for self-swabbing;
  • Home swabbing: in some areas of the country staff may be visited by staff to test them at home. Home testing is also being rolled out where a kit may be posted to a person’s home so they can swab themselves or a member or their household
  • Mobile swabbing units: mobile swabbing units, run by the military, will visiting specific areas to provide additional testing opportunities to communities.
  • Local NHS organisations are rolling out testing of their asymptomatic staff.

The government has sent up an online portal for essential workers to make individual bookings.