The rollout across Kent and Medway has meant a range of people who provide essential services are now able to get tested if they or someone they live with have Coronavirus-like symptoms.
Kent and Medway residents over the age of 65 can also get tested if they, or someone they live with has symptoms.
Keeping our essential staff working safely
Wilf Williams, Accountable Officer for Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and the representative for the NHS on the Kent Resilience Forum’s Strategic Coordinating Group said: “The launch of the national essential worker Coronavirus testing campaign, and the opening of the drive-through regional testing centre at Ebbsfleet International, is a major boost to all of the frontline and other essential workers in Kent and Medway. This programme will support us keeping our essential staff working safely and keeping a wide range of key services across the region running.
“It’s important that we remember that essential staff are not only those working in the NHS and public services. A lot of other essential roles in sectors such as transport, utilities, food and drink and education are also covered. You can find out whether your job is covered by checking the government’s website. It is vitally important to support our frontline workers who are doing such an essential job in our community.
“Thank you to all essential workers across Kent and Medway for the vital role you are providing to support all residents during this pandemic.”
Helping protect residents and ensure they get the care that they need
Andrew Scott-Clark, Director of Public Health for Kent County Council and co-Chair of the Kent Resilience Forum’s Health and Social Care cell, added: “The expansion of the national testing programme to include those over 65 is very welcome. These are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and those most at risk of developing serious complications from Coronavirus. By supporting our older citizens and their household members in getting tested – either at the drive-through centre in Ebbsfleet or in their own homes through the postal testing programme – we are helping to protect them and ensure they get the care that they need.”
The national testing programme, which runs both the new testing centre at Ebbsfleet International and a postal testing service, should be the first port of call for most essential workers and for those over the age of 65. Tests can be booked online through the government portal.
The NHS in Kent and Medway will also continue to run local Coronavirus testing at hospital sites across the county. This is primarily for use by essential health and care staff, but can also accommodate small numbers of other essential workers who are unable to use the national programme. More details are available on the Kent and Medway CCG website.
Along with the national testing programme and the hospital-based sites, the NHS and KRF are also looking at other ways that testing could be expanded across the county.
James Williams, Director of Public Health for Medway Council and co-Chair of the Kent Resilience Forum’s Health and Social Care cell, added: “To provide the best range of testing options that we can for our communities, we are also working with the government on ways we can support testing for local people. This includes mobile testing sites, which are being operated by our partners in the Armed Forces, which can deliver additional testing capacity in local areas for short periods of time when we need it. These mobile sites have already been out and testing people in Dover and Ramsgate, and we will continue to work with our Armed Forces colleagues on how we can best use this fantastic resource.”
For the essential worker testing programme in Kent and Medway, visit the Kent and Medway CCG website.