Asymptomatic Covid test centre swings into action at Mansfield's Portland College

Following an update to guidance from the government before the Christmas holidays, a team of staff at Portland College in Mansfield jumped into action to create an asymptomatic Covid-19 test centre which opened this week.

Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 8:00 am

The lateral flow tests are used to test staff, learners and citizens who are attending college following the latest government guidance.

Up to a third of individuals who test positive for Covid-19 have no symptoms at all and can therefore spread the virus unknowingly. That is why testing those without symptoms is vital, allowing the college to operate as safely as possible.

A short but rigorous trial period took place in the first week back after the Christmas break before learners returned to ensure that the implemented processes were correct and supported all involved to remain safe.

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Portland College in Mansfield has opened up its own asymptomatic Covid-19 test test site using lateral flow tests. Photo: Laurel Chor/Getty Images

In the first three days of the test centre being fully operational, a total of 241 rapid tests were carried out, with just one positive result.

This person was able to isolate immediately at home and will visit a local test centre to confirm their results.

One staff member who was tested positive in last week’s trials talks about how easy the process was for her.

She said: “I would say the whole process was pleasant and supportive.

"The test itself was just a tickle on the back of the throat with a bendy cotton bud that didn’t make me gag and putting it up my nose didn’t make me sneeze either.

"The results came quickly via text with a positive result.

"I was required to take a second test so went on the government website and was able to book a test locally for myself and my husband within half an hour.

"Those results again came quickly via text the next day.

“Working from home is a new thing for me but I have found the IT works really well.

"The offers of support from work colleagues, friends, families, neighbours all willing to shop have been gratefully appreciated, although the offers from people wanting to foster my gorgeous cocker spaniel puppy have no chance.

“My advice is please to get a test so you have the peace of mind to know you are ok. It’s the fastest way to protect your work colleagues, friends, family and local community.

"Luckily, I have only mild symptoms, but without the test I may not have known and may have spread it within our community.”

Initially testing will be provided for all staff and learners as they return this term.

After this, staff will be tested once a week on an ongoing basis.

Daily contact testing is available to all who come into close contact with a positive case, for seven days, allowing them to remain at college.

Mark Dale, college principal, said: “I’m incredibly proud of how hard the team have worked to transform our Eastwood Suite into a robust Covid testing centre.

"This testing procedure is vital to us being able to provide the essential education and support to our learners, whilst doing everything possible to keep people safe and well.”