Earlier this month, Milton Keynes Council began a COVID-19 rapid testing pilot for frontline key workers to help understand and drive down virus transmission rates.
Now it is extending that pilot to all MK essential shopworkers who from Monday (7 February) are invited to have a rapid test at their convenience.
Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Through the pilot, the council aims to identify public facing key workers who have COVID-19 without showing symptoms - finding positive cases more quickly to help break chains of transmission and protect vulnerable people.
The pilot had initially been restricted to local workers from within the police, fire services and frontline council staff including those in social care and our waste partner Serco. It was opened last week to transport workers including tax drivers.
The facility, based at MK’s Central Library, can comfortably test several hundred people every day. More than 3000 tests have been taken to date, with a number of positive cases found. Those people told to isolate immediately. Careful protocols are followed at the site, with cleaning taking place between each test.
Shopworkers do not need to make a booking in advance, just turn up during test centre opening hours (9.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, late night till 7pm on Tues and Thurs). If demand is high, the council may ask people to return another time to avoid queues. Afternoons tend to be quieter.
As well as bringing ID that identifies them as a supermarket employee, people seeking a rapid test should bring a smartphone if they can, on which they’ll need to register and be sent their results. Help is on hand for those who might need it. The test itself is administered very quickly with results usually texted within 45 minutes.
People with any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste) should not attend and instead should isolate and book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.