1. Coronavirus testing

Coronavirus testing

Guidance for managers

Testing for coronavirus has now been extended to include key workers in councils beyond those working in health and social care.

While health and social care workers will continue to be tested at NHS facilities, the extended testing for other categories of key worker will be carried out at UK Government testing facilities.

The council is able to facilitate testing for staff members who are displaying symptoms of coronavirus through a dedicated employer portal, to assist employees with the process.

Who can get a test

Key worker employees or a member of their household who have symptoms of coronavirus (new, continuous cough, fever or high temperature) can be tested.

To get a test, there are a number of criteria that need to be met:

  1. The member of staff affected must be in one of the council’s categories of key workers.
  2. Their symptoms, or that of their family/household member, must have started in the last three days. This is because testing is only effective up to the first five days of symptoms and a test slot may take a day to be organised.

If an employee is self-isolating because a family/household member has symptoms, we can refer that family/household member for testing. By doing this, our employee can be much more certain about whether they should be self-isolating or whether and when they should return to work.

How the system works

The council has put in place a system to access the UK Government’s employer portal to make it easier for staff to access testing.

If a key worker employee – or someone in their household – has had new coronavirus symptoms they should make contact with you, as their line manager, immediately they or a family member display any signs of symptoms. Employees should be encouraged to report any such symptoms immediately so that the testing can be done without delay but without fail by the third day of symptoms.

Once you are satisfied that the employee or a member of their household qualifies, you should contact Lynn McKenzie (07973 729219) or Michelle McGuinness (07583 042752) directly who will arrange to record their information and book the test for the employee.

The employee will receive their testing appointment by text message.

Any queries or requests should be sent to the dedicated mailbox at COVID19Testing@northlan.gov.uk.

If an employee is phoning on behalf of a household member with symptoms, you will need to get the following details from them:

  • First and second name of household member
  • Mobile telephone number
  • Email address

A data sharing agreement will also be sent to the member of the household to make them aware that the council will have their details above.

Where the test happens

The test will happen at drive-through facilities at either Glasgow or Edinburgh Airport (this will depend where the employee lives). There may also be a temporary facility at Ravenscraig Regional Sport Centre, Motherwell (1 O’Donnell Way, Wishaw, Motherwell ML1 2TZ ) arranged by The British Army at certain times. Lynn or Michelle will inform you if this facility is currently available.

If an employee or their family member is unable to drive, then a self-test at home may be an option, but these are subject to availability and demand is high and should only be requested if the employee can’t attend the drive-through facility.

Please relay to the employee that each person who is being tested at the facility will need to take one piece of photographic identification such as a driving licence or passport (council ID badge will not be sufficient). Formal identification is not required for children.

All employees or their household members attending testing facilities should take their mobile phones with them as an internet connection is required.

Getting results

The test only determines if someone has coronavirus on the day of testing. It does not confirm if the person being tested has ever had coronavirus.

The employee will receive a text message or email with their results within 48 hours of the test. You should get in touch with the employee to find out the result of their test and inform the HR team.  

If the test is negative, and nobody develops symptoms while they wait for results, they can return to work.

If, after returning to work, they, or anyone in their household develops symptoms at a future date, they and everyone in their household should self-isolate according to government guidance and they can once again receive a further test.

While there is also an option for self-referral on the UK Government website, the employee should use the council’s process. This is to make it easier for them to access testing and will allow you to verify their key worker status.

If the employee does self-refer, they must inform their line manager that they have booked a test and also of the result. As the manager, you must inform the dedicated HR team when this happens, both about the test and the result.