Coronavirus Testing for Frontline Workers

The email below was issued to Education Partners this week:

Dear Chief Executive Officer

The Minister of Health announced on Wednesday (22 April) a further expansion of testing through NI centres to allow symptomatic frontline workers and/or their symptomatic household members to know whether or not they have the virus.  Testing is now available to key workers who work in the essential areas listed in the guidance below.  This includes staff in the Department of Education and its non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs).

Please see attached, the INVITATION TO TEST which gives details of who is eligible to be tested and how to arrange a test appointment. You may wish to use this to inform your staff of the availability of testing.

Further details are also available on the Public Health Agency website: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus/coronavirus-national-testing-programme-key-workers

If you have any queries please email DOC.Operationscell@education-ni.gov.uk.

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Coronavirus testing is now available for key workers who are self-isolating due to having coronavirus-like symptoms or because a member of their household has symptoms.

Those eligible for testing are:

  • If you are a frontline worker who is self-isolating because you are displaying symptoms, then you are eligible to take this test.
  • If you are a frontline worker who is self-isolating because someone else in your household is displaying symptoms, and that person is over the age of 18, then they are eligible to take the test.
  • If you are a frontline worker who is self-isolating because an under 18-year-old in your household is displaying symptoms, then they are eligible to take the test. A parent or guardian must perform the swab test on 5-11-year olds. 12-18-year olds can perform the test on themselves. The test is unsuitable for under-fives.

Key workers are those who work in essential areas. This includes workers in:

  • any government department and their non-departmental public bodies;
  • the Health and Safety Executive;
  • roles necessary for critical national infrastructure to continue to operate (for example utility, transport sectors);
  • roles necessary to support the health and wellbeing of the community directly (for example funeral directors, refuse collectors, medical, energy, utility, transport and food supplies, food production, agriculture and food sectors, or supply pinch points).

 How to arrange testing

If you are a key worker who is self-isolating due to having coronavirus-like symptoms or because a member of your household has symptoms, please complete your registration by emailing your name, telephone and organisation of work to NCTP@hscni.net

PHA staff will contact you for further details and to book an appointment at one of the three test centres in Northern Ireland:

  • SSE test centre, Odyssey Car park, Belfast BT3 9QQ
  • Derry Rugby test centre, Judges Rd, Londonderry, BT47 6LN
  • Craigavon MOT centre, Craigavon, BT63 5RY

All centres are open 10.00 am – 4.00 pm, seven days a week.

Instructions when you visit a test centre

To avoid risk of cross-contamination, our centre is a drive-through. You must arrive by car (not on foot, via public transport, by taxi or by any other means). Only people from your household may be in the car with you.

  • Do not exit the car at any point whilst on site.
  • Please note, bathroom facilities will not be available.
  • When you arrive at the main gate DO NOT lower your windows.
  • Once you are on site, we will use the car registration that you have provided in advance or at security to identify you. This is how you gain access to the site.
  • Please press your employer-issued staff ID against the window for site security to see.
  • You will be directed to a testing lane, where a member of our trained National Testing Team will instruct you to lower your window to carry out a coronavirus test.
  • Please note that your test will be self-administered – you will be directed by a member of staff on site.
  • You will then be given instructions on how to use your phone to scan your test kit’s barcode.

 When you are at the test station please:

  • park with your handbrake on;
  • turn your engine off;
  • turn your radio off;
  • have your phone ready for after your test, to scan the barcode of the test kit.

 Receiving your results

You will receive your results by email within 72 hours of taking the test. Please ensure you enter the correct contact details when you register.