What is rapid testing?
Rapid testing using lateral flow devices (LFDs) involves taking and processing tests for COVID-19 directly at the point of care (e.g. workplace, care home). Samples are taken using nose and throat swabs and results are provided in around 30 minutes. Lateral flow tests look for parts of the surface of the virus (antigen) that are present during active COVID infection.
Currently, LFDs are targeted at people who do not have coronavirus symptoms (asymptomatic). Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and book a PCR test.
Rapid testing is an additional measure that can be used to try and reduce the risk of infection. The benefit of lateral flow tests is that they can provides results quickly, without the need for delay in sending swabs to a laboratory. However, as with many tests decreasing turnaround time means that there is also a decrease in accuracy.
A negative lateral flow test result does not mean that an individual definitely does not have COVID-19 and that there is therefore no risk. Individuals with a negative lateral flow test result should continue to practice social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, and all other existing infection prevention measures to try and decrease the spread of disease.
The purpose of rapid testing with LFDs is to identify additional cases in asymptomatic people who would otherwise not have been detected, to prevent further spread of infection. Lateral flow tests are not currently approved for serial testing of close contacts to bypass the need to self-isolate (‘test to enable’).
North Yorkshire rapid testing programme
North Yorkshire County Council have received approval from the Department of Health and Social Care to introduce a local rapid testing programme focusing on critical workforces across the County. They will be working with employers to set up lateral flow testing through individual workplaces, similar to the model currently employed in care homes and schools. The programme will be rolled out in a phased manner, starting with critical category 1 and 2 responders.
In addition to providing the lateral flow tests, NYCC will also provide training and support for staff as the process is rolled out. Working directly with employers helps to ensure that staff testing is carried out regularly and results are acted upon immediately, which will give the most benefit from lateral flow devices.
Craven District Council will work with North Yorkshire County Council on the local rapid testing programme. Information about which organisations are eligible to apply will be made available once the programme is operational.
National workplace rapid testing programme
Businesses with more than 50 employees are now eligible to apply to join the national workplace rapid testing programme.
You can register to order tests if:
- your business is registered in England
- you employ 50 people or more
- your employees cannot work from home
For more information please contact email@example.com.