Covid-19 testing for frontline key workers

Updated 20 May 2020

Testing for Covid-19 is being expanded to all frontline key workers with coronavirus-like symptoms. This is to ensure that self-isolating key workers can go back to work if they’re well enough.

The test allows key workers to find out whether they or members of their household currently have coronavirus. It is not an antibody test to identify if someone has had or is immune to the virus.

Frontline key workers can access testing either by attending one of several drive-through testing sites across Sussex or by requesting a home testing kit.

There's a different way to ask for a test if you’re not a key worker (or don't live with one) via the NHS website.

Eligibility

Eligibility criteria have been agreed by Public Health England and NHS England. A full list of local authority staff eligible for testing, along with full details of the testing process, can be found on gov.uk

Personal Care Assistants (PAs) who receive direct payment from the council for their work are also considered frontline keyworkers and are eligible for testing.

To get tested, eligible staff with coronavirus-like symptoms (a high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough and/or a lost or changed sense of normal smell or taste (anosmia)) must either be:

  • self-isolating with mild symptoms that have developed in the last five days, or
  • self-isolating because an adult member of their household has developed symptoms in the last five days. In this case, that adult household member is also eligible for testing. If more than one household member is symptomatic then all symptomatic household members should be tested.

If a staff member is self-isolating because a child household member (between the ages of 5 and 18) is showing symptoms, the child is eligible for a test to be administered by the parent/guardian. Details of tests for children will be discussed with the staff member when a test is booked.

Testing is only considered effective if it takes place within five days of the onset of symptoms. Local Chief Medical Officers, Public Health England and NHS England advise that no testing should be undertaken after five days have passed since the onset of symptoms.  

How to get tested

The availability of home testing kits will initially be limited, but more will become available. Drive-through testing sites have greater testing capacity for those able to travel to them.  

Book a drive-through test appointment

For drive-through testing, the person or people being tested must live within a 45 minute drive of their nearest testing site. These are at the following locations:

  • Brighton: Amex Stadium, Village Way, Brighton BN1 9BL
  • Bexhill: Wainwright Car Park, Wainwright Road,  Bexhill-on-Sea, TN39 3UR
  • Bognor Regis: Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital, Shripney Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO22 9PP (attendees must use the Bersted Street Entrance)
  • Gatwick: Gatwick Airport, Summer Special Car Park, Horley, Gatwick RH6 0PJ

To book:

  • Eligible staff should speak to their manager in the first instance to confirm they want a test for themselves and, if relevant, any affected household members
  • Managers or eligible staff members should then email the HR Attendance & Wellbeing team at hrattendance@brighton-hove.gov.uk with the names and phone numbers (both mobile and landline if available) of staff and household members requiring tests
  • The Attendance & Wellbeing Team will contact staff directly to confirm eligibility
  • Eligible staff will then be contacted by the NHS central booking hub for Sussex to discuss arrangements for testing. This will include their proximity to the nearest drive-through testing site, whether they can drive and what to do after the appointment is confirmed.

It is also possible to book a drive-through test using the Government’s new self-referral portal, but please note that booking through this route only gives you access to the testing sites at Brighton and Gatwick and not those at Bexhill and Bognor Regis.

Access the Government self-referral portal

The Government have also published a guide for using the self-referral portal.

Request a home testing kit

As mentioned above, availability of home testing kits is currently limited, so please only request one if you can’t get to a drive-through testing site.

To request a home testing kit, please use the Government self-referral portal (and access the user guide if needed).

Alternatively, you can arrange home testing by following the process outlined in the bullet points above for contacting the HR Attendance & Wellbeing team.

Test results

If a member of staff tests negative, they can return to work as long as:

  • they’re well enough
  • they have not had a high temperature for 48 hours
  • other members of their household have also tested negative and are not symptomatic.

If another household member tests negative, then the member of staff can return to work without testing.

If they receive an inconclusive/void result they should remain in self-isolation and inform their manager. The manager can then discuss the result with the Wellbeing Manager in HROD.

In the event of a positive test result, or if other household members test positive, the member of staff cannot return to work and will need to continue self-isolating.

Read NHS advice about how long to self-isolate.

If symptoms worsen or do not get better after 7 days, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Additional information for managers

Managers should email the Attendance & Wellbeing Team at hrattendance@brighton-hove.gov.uk as soon as any of their team members become unwell or go on special leave. This is to ensure we’re not missing any opportunities to test eligible staff.

Contacts

For any questions or issues related to key worker testing, please contact:

If a staff member hasn’t received their results 72 hours after being tested at the Brighton or Gatwick drive-through sites, they should call Deloitte’s Key Worker Coronavirus testing line on 0300 303 2713. Lines are open from 7am-5pm every day.

Please do not contact testing sites directly to request an appointment or turn up without a pre-booked appointment.