The Government has released the full list of essential workers who can now get tested for Coronavirus.
The priority is testing patients to inform their clinical diagnosis. In addition, they are now also testing:
- essential workers with symptoms
- people who live with essential workers and have symptoms
This means essential workers can find out whether they have the virus, and they can be helped to return to work if they test negative. Testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing.
List of essential workers and those prioritised for testing (England only)
- all NHS and social care staff, including:
- doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers
- the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector
- those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines, and medical and personal protective equipment
- essential public services staff, including:
- prisons, probation, courts and tribunals staff, judiciary
- religious staff
- charities and workers delivering critical frontline services
- those responsible for the management of the deceased
- journalists and broadcasters covering coronavirus or providing public service broadcasting
- public safety and national security staff, including:
- police and support staff
- Ministry of Defence civilians, contractors and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of critical defence and national security outputs and critical to the response to the coronavirus pandemic)
- fire and rescue service employees (including support staff),
- National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas
- Transport workers, including:
- those who keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus response
- those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass
- education and childcare workers, including:
- support and teaching staff
- social workers
- specialist education professionals
- critical personnel in the production and distribution of food, drink and essential goods, including:
- those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery
- those critical to the provision of other essential goods, such as medical supply chain and distribution workers, including veterinary medicine
- workers critical to the continuity of essential movement of goods
- local and national government staff critical to the effective delivery of the coronavirus response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits
- public and environmental health staff, including in government agencies and arm’s length bodies
- frontline local authority staff, including those working with vulnerable children and adults, with victims of domestic abuse, and with the homeless and rough sleepers
- utilities, communication and financial services staff, including:
- staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
- the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
- information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus response
- essential staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 essential services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors
Arrange a test
Essential workers who are self-isolating can book a test directly. You can select a regional test site drive-through appointment or home test kit.
Home test kit availability will initially be limited but more will become available. There is good availability of regional test sites, the Government are asking people to select this option if they can.
The employer referral portal allows employers to refer essential workers who are self-isolating either because they or member(s) of their household have coronavirus symptoms, for testing. It is a secure portal for employers to use to upload the full list of names and contact details of self-isolating essential workers.
If referred through this portal, essential workers will receive a text message with a unique invitation code to book a test for themselves (if symptomatic) or their symptomatic household member(s) at a regional testing site.
In order to obtain a login, employers of essential workers should email firstname.lastname@example.org with 2 email addresses that will primarily be used to load essential worker contact details.
Once employer details have been verified, 2 login credentials will be issued for the employer referral portal.
The testing process
The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted).
The different ways you can get tested are covered below.
Regional testing sites
The Government are establishing a network of drive-through regional testing sites, which aim to open up to 50 sites by the end of April.
Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house. Home test kit availability will be initially limited, but more will become available.
Mobile testing units
Mobile testing units are being developed. They will operate out of a regional testing site and travel to offer tests where they are needed.
NHS capability is being increased by providing test kits directly to ‘satellite’ centres at places like hospitals that have a particularly urgent or significant need.
Testing within an NHS facility such as a hospital is available for patients and some NHS workers.
Across all these testing methods, there is a network of couriers who collect the completed samples and deliver them safely to laboratories. The swab samples are analysed at and the result is communicated back to the individual.
The aim is to return test results within 48 hours of a swab being taken, or within 72 hours for a home test.