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Dorset Rapid Community Testing

What is the Dorset Rapid Community Testing Programme?

Public Health Dorset, on behalf of BCP and Dorset councils, has had funding from the Department of Health and Social Care to set up a Dorset Community Rapid Testing Service to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Around one in three people who are infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. This is known as being asymptomatic. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.

How is community testing being done in Dorset?

Asymptomatic testing using lateral flow devices (LFD) has already been rolled out nationally to NHS front line staff, care home staff and residents, domiciliary care workers, schools and some commercial organisations. This has happened in Dorset too.

In January, Dorset and BCP Councils began targeted asymptomatic testing to front line council workers who cannot work from home and who are working to keep essential services going.

Next steps in the Dorset Rapid Testing Programme

We want any business or organisation in Dorset who is open under current COVID-19 government guidelines and employs less than 50 people (including the self-employed) to register their interest in weekly lateral flow device testing. Employees must sign up to six weeks of testing and be tested at one of the sites around the county. 

We have offered weekly asymptomatic testing to employees of businesses, charities and voluntary organisations (employing less than 250 people) and the self-employed across Dorset who cannot work from home due to the nature of their role. Testing will be for a period of six weeks.

To qualify for testing your business/organisation must either provide an essential service or support the vulnerable. Examples include:

  • Protecting the vulnerable: working with vulnerable people, housing support, mortuary or funeral staff, essential trades people e.g. plumbing, transport providers for vulnerable groups, sheltered housing
  • Essential services: small businesses/service industry e.g. food production, retail, delivery drivers, pre-school staff, community volunteer groups, trades e.g. engineering, energy

 Access to this service is for people who do not already have access to asymptomatic testing. If you already have access to asymptomatic testing e.g. through an NHS or care home employer, you are not able to access the community service. 

Register your interest business or organisation's interest in weekly asymptomatic community testing.

Which organisations can register their interest in LFD testing?

Our priority is offering testing to local businesses and organisations who are supporting vulnerable people, who may be vulnerable themselves or who are providing essential services. We are initially offering testing to:

  • Local authority commissioned in contact with vulnerable people
  • Care provider (adults and children)
  • Telecare mobile response and installers
  • Voluntary sector working with vulnerable people
  • Housing support / associations
  • Religious group
  • Funeral directors (or mortuary)
  • Essential tradesperson – gas, electricity, plumbing
  • Transport provider for vulnerable groups
  • Sheltered housing
  • Small businesses/service industries – food production, processing and retail
  • Transport providers – general public and private
  • Delivery driver
  • Pre-school nursery/organisation
  • Community volunteer groups
  • Trades – marine, energy, engineering

Register your organisation's interest in asymptomatic community testing. 

Some frequently asked questions about registering your interest in the Dorset Rapid Community Testing programme.