Testing a ‘crucial element’ in Covid response

Testing is a crucial element in the pandemic response and will be ‘instrumental if we are to return to some normality’, the Health Minister has said.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:14 pm
Health Minister Robin Swann with the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Childminder Association (NICMA), Patricia Lewsley-Mooney and childminder Joan Boyd with Henry and Margo

Health Minister Robin Swann met with childminder Joan Boyd who is using home testing to ensure she can operate safely during the pandemic, and the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Childminder Association, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney.

Workforce testing is available to any organisation with more than 10 employees or volunteers and there are also a range of ways for smaller organisations or individuals to access testing.

Minister Swann said: “It is estimated that one in three people with COVID-19 have no recognisable symptoms of the disease. To combat this, rapid asymptomatic testing is being carried out in many sectors across Northern Ireland including schools, public transport, healthcare and business. This type of testing uses lateral flow devices to provide a result within approximately 30 minutes, without the need for any lab testing.

“It is not only large employers or businesses that can be tested. Individuals who provide face to face services such as childminders, hairdressers and driving instructors can also benefit from regular asymptomatic testing.”

Patricia Lewsley-Mooney said: “Registered childminders, like other childcare providers, play a crucial role in enabling parents to return to work. Access to rapid COVID tests will ensure that any COVID-19 infection is identified at an early stage, reducing the likelihood of onward transmission.”

Free testing packs are available to anyone with no symptoms of Covid19. The kits can be ordered online and will be delivered to a home address, or can be collected from a growing number of locations across the North.

Health Minister, Robin Swann concluded: “Testing will be instrumental if we are to return to some normality.

“The virus and the variants remain a significant threat to our society and we must be mindful of that. Testing coupled with vaccination, contact tracing and adherence to public health advice will keep us safer. This is how we ensure that our recovery from the pandemic is resilient and sustainable.”

For further information on rapid COVID testing check online: www.health-ni.gov.uk/workforce-testing,