South Wales Police to pilot rapid Covid-19 testing regime
South Wales Police is to trial an asymptomatic coronavirus testing regime in a bid to minimise the amount of staff that are off work while self isolating.
The four-week pilot will use rapid lateral flow tests which can be self-administered and deliver results within 20 to 30 minutes.
The serial testing will mean police staff who are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 can be asked to take the test at the start of their shift for the duration of the time they would be expected to self-isolate for.
Those who test negative can then continue to work, while those who test positive must isolate and book a confirmatory PCR test.
Health minister Vaughan Gething said the pilot was in response to “the particular pressures facing the South Wales Police area”, and that its success could see a rollout to other police forces in Wales.
He said: “The nature of frontline police work is such that there is extensive interaction with often more vulnerable members of the public, resulting in a heightened risk of transmission, infection and requirement for self-isolation.
“This is resulting in a detrimental impact on police workforce capacity to address day-to-day routine law enforcement commitments.”
Chief Superintendent Andy Valentine, said: “We are seeing the very serious impact that the contact-tracing arrangements have on police resource levels. When officers and staff have symptoms of Covid-19 or test positive, their close contacts are legally obliged to self-isolate for ten days.
“Due to the uncontrolled nature of our work, these contacts can be numerous and have a significant impact on the individuals involved and on resource levels. This pilot will allow officers who test negative to return to their duties safely so they can continue to protect the public and keep our communities safe.”
Rapid Covid testing will also be used to help facilitate the return of learners and staff at Welsh schools, colleges, and universities in January.