Health chiefs investigate Covid outbreaks at two businesses in Northampton and Daventry
Individuals self-isolating and extra testing is being rolled out following 65 new cases
Health chiefs are investigating how four out of every ten Covid-19 cases in a week were linked to two workplace outbreaks in Northampton and Daventry.
Official figures revealed 163 positive tests among residents in the new West Northamptonshire authority between April 12 and April 18.
Outbreaks in two workplace settings involved 65 cases over the same period — 39.9 per cent of the total.
Extra lateral flow testing has been rolled out at both businesses.
Public Health Northamptonshire will not identify the two businesses involved and insist that household transmission remains the leading cause of new cases across the county.
A spokesperson said: “We are aware of positive cases of Covid-19 at a company in Northampton and another in Daventry.
"These are unrelated companies, both engaged in work where the majority of their employees are not able to perform their roles at home.
“Individuals who have tested positive at both companies have been advised to self-isolate, as well as those identified as their contacts.
“We are working with both businesses involved, the local public heath team, Public Health England, Health and Safety Executive, and Environmental Health colleagues, as we usually would, to ensure that control measures are in place to prevent further virus spread.
“These has included working with both companies to implement Lateral Flow Testing for staff, with any positive LFT results being confirmed by PCR test, as per national guidance.
“Based on the information we have so far, the risk to the wider population from these outbreaks is low, however we will be continuing to monitor this, with the co-operation of these companies.
“These businesses, in common with so many of our other companies across Northamptonshire, are working incredibly hard to reduce the risk of outbreaks in the workplace.
“Household transmission remains the leading cause of Covid-19 cases in Northamptonshire.”
Free lateral flow testing has been made available to businesses, schools and residents in a bid to identify those who have no coronavirus symptoms but could be passing on Covid-19 because they do not know they have it.
Lucy Wightman, joint director of public health for North and West Northamptonshire councils, added: “Testing for those without symptoms, often called LFT or LFD testing, is a vital part of our armoury in getting rates down and keeping them down, by picking up the one in three people with Covid-19 who won’t have any symptoms.
“The government has made LFT or LFD test kits available to anyone and I’d like to encourage Northamptonshire residents to access free, regular rapid coronavirus tests — particularly if you cannot work away from home and your employer isn’t currently offering workplace testing."
There are a variety of ways in which you can access lateral flow testing:
■ At one of the community-based asymptomatic testing sites across the county, listed HERE.
■ Collect packs for home use at several sites across the county — you can find your nearest HERE.
■ Order test kits for home delivery HERE.
The number of positive tests across all of Northamptonshire has tumbled to around 250 per week from a peak of 4,700 in January.
Experts have warned numbers will rise in the wake of restrictions being eased earlier this month. But health officials hope figures can be kept in check enough to allow the next stage of the roadmap to go ahead as planned on May 17.
Numbers of Covid-19 patients in Northamptonshire's two acute hospitals is down to around 14 from a record high 422 on January 13 — although Northampton General Hospital has recorded a six deaths in the last 17 days.