Posted: Fri 4th Dec 2020

Regular rapid Covid testing of frontline health and social care staff in Wales introduced for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Rapid Covid testing of asymptomatic frontline health and social care staff will start this month in Wales.

Lateral flow tests (LFTs) will be made available to test frontline health and social care workers twice weekly.

The new testing programme will be available for:

  • Clinical NHS staff (doctors, nurses and allied health professionals) and those working with high-risk groups such as haematology staff working with transplant patients.
  • Non-clinical staff including porters, cleaning staff, catering staff and volunteers.
  • Social care workers, including domiciliary care workers, social workers and inspectors visiting care homes and other social care settings.

Health minister Vaughan Gething said: “I am pleased to announce that we will now be introducing a programme of regular asymptomatic testing of frontline health and social care staff and others in contact with patients and those receiving social care.

“This builds on the asymptomatic testing of health workers in Wales to assist with outbreak control and those working in care homes.”

This will be done using lateral flow testing devices, which can produce results in 30 minutes with the potential to be self-administered.”

“While LFTs are not as sensitive as lab-based RT-PCR tests, scientific advice has indicated that by testing more frequently with LFTs their accuracy is on a par with RT-PCR tests.”

“It is vital everyone understands that testing alone cannot eradicate the risks associated with Covid-19 and testing needs to be carried out alongside other infection prevention control measures, such as the use of PPE, social distancing and hand hygiene. ”

“Protecting our NHS staff and our most vulnerable citizens in Wales is at the heart of our Covid response and a key element of our Test, Trace, Protect strategy.”

Mr Gething added: “We will begin rolling out the programme for these groups from 14 December, starting with those working in services with high risks of transmission, and introducing in lower risk settings in January.”

“We will also be introducing regular asymptomatic testing of staff working in hospice inpatient units and those delivering hospice at home services.”

Welsh Conservative health spokesperson – Andrew RT Davies MS said: “I’m glad to see that the Welsh Labour-led Government has finally caught up with Welsh Conservatives’ call to make this happen in Wales.

“Like many of their announcements it’s now vital that they follow through from their press release and deliver these tests to health and care settings across Wales.

“The tests will provide reassurance to our fantastic health and social care staff – as well as to their families the people they’re caring – for as they battle this virus.”

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