At Whitby & Co. and the Fleet Street Clinic, we strongly believe in our duty to protect our colleagues and patients alike, independently of Government regulations. We have stayed open since the start of the pandemic, delivering key health services for our patients, face-to-face and without interruption, but with no compromise on safety.
Despite the recent changes to isolation legislation and access to testing, you can rely on the fact that we plan to keep regularly testing all our staff for the foreseeable future – using highly sensitive rt-PCR tests in our own onsite lab. The benefits of rt-PCR testing means the infection is detected much earlier, rather than at peak infection which is when lateral flow tests only turn positive. We will advise our employees to continue to isolate in the event of a positive test: we prefer to pay our staff to stay at home, rather than risk spreading Covid-19 among colleagues or to our patients.
Whilst we absolutely recognise that the Omicron variant is less severe than previous dominant strains of SARS-CoV-2, we are not willing to compromise the health and wellbeing of our employees or patients when the severity is so unpredictable person to person. For peace of mind and to protect those most vulnerable, we will continue to wear face masks and prevent infectious individuals from entering our premises.
Our internal strategy appears thus far to be successful: although a number of us have inevitably had Covid-19 over the course of the pandemic, there have certainly been no outbreaks among staff from workplace transmission.
Beyond this, you can rely on the fact that all our staff are fully vaccinated, and indeed (like all health workers) were prioritised for vaccination from the earliest opportunity.
Whatever your reason for coming to see us at 29 Fleet Street – whether for an eye examination, a GP appointment, travel vaccines, or to use any of our other services, you can be confident that we have all been vaccinated and have had a recent negative coronavirus test. And this extends to if any of us come and see you at your home, office or place of work, you can be completely assured that we have used all our resources to protect you, your family and your colleagues.
Throughout the pandemic we have supported many industries trying to navigate business-as-usual alongside managing the potential risk of coronavirus in the workplace.
Identifying covid-positive individuals as well as outbreaks is essential, but it is also important not to underestimate the peace of mind testing brings to employees who may be anxious about catching covid-19 in the work environment, especially those who have been in close contact with someone at work who has subsequently tested positive.
The creative arts industry has been particularly impacted by closures, and given the close-contact nature of the theatre and performing arts sector, outbreaks do occur. The speed at which those infected can be identified can make all the difference between a show going ahead or being cancelled.
We have supported Kenny Wax Productions for the last 2 years with crisis management and routine testing using our ultra-rapid covid-19 rt-PCR testing service.
Here’s how we supported the production of MAGIC GOES WRONG during their Christmas crisis:
At 15:18 on New Year’s Day (a Saturday), we received a text to say that the entire cast of MAGIC GOES WRONG was heading straight to Fleet Street, following a positive result from one of their actresses. The only way the evening performance could go ahead was to determine whether covid-19 had spread throughout their cast, or not.
We understood the urgency of this situation and quickly and calmly took samples from a cast of 21 against the clock. We ran them through our lab at the same time, which can be quite a challenge. Since we knew that there would not be enough time to re-run samples, this needed to be done with special care. For us to be able to give Kenny the “thumbs up” to go ahead with the evening show, it was imperative we got things right the first time.
One of the best things about our NeuMoDx lab equipment is that we can load each sample as soon as it is taken, rather than waiting for the complete batch. We started running samples immediately, the last of them had finished running by 18:10, when we were able to assure Kenny that it was safe for the cast to go on with the show.
We were able to go from initial text enquiry to sample-taking and final, confirmed results for the entire cast in just over 3 hours.
Kenny Wax, the Producer of MAGIC GOES WRONG explains:
“Our West End hit MAGIC GOES WRONG had managed to avoid shutdown. However, an actress who had been feeling a little unwell leading up to New Year and continuously tested negative on lateral flows, finally came through with a positive test on Saturday morning 31st December. Hearing this news, the rest of the cast became very anxious about continuing performances until they were confident that covid had not spread throughout the company.
As Producer of the show, I was made aware of this information at 1.45pm. There was due to be a matinee at 2.30pm and an evening show at 7:30pm. We had no other option than to cancel the matinee but in an attempt to save the evening performance (a Saturday Night), at very short notice we attempted to get the whole company of 21 people PCR tested in the afternoon. To achieve almost the impossible everyone set off for the Fleet Street Clinic and by 6.10pm, we received the good news that the rest of the company had tested negative on the PCR and we were able to continue with the evening performance and the following two
shows on the Sunday. This not only saved us another financial blow due to cancellations at the box office, but we were able to provide entertainment to 1,500 customers across those three performances.
Dr Dawood’s staff at the Fleet Street Clinic are always polite, friendly and efficient. They fully understood the nuances of working with a West End theatre production company on a very tight deadline. I am very grateful for their continuing support and cannot recommend them highly enough.”
Following the confirmation of the new variant of coronavirus found in the UK, we have taken many enquiries regarding our PCR testing technology at Fleet Street Clinic and its ability to detect this new variant.
Please feel assured that our suite of Covid-19 rt-PCR detection equipment can confirm the presence of this new variant alongside the previously known strain.
We understand identifying this new variant of SARS-CoV-2 may cause concern due to its higher rate of infection compared to the previous known strain. However, rest assured, there is no evidence to suggest it causes more serious illness or would disrupt the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Prof Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) which advises the UK government, said the new strain is likely to become the dominant global strain and it is therefore important our equipment is able to adapt to change to identify mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
At Fleet Street Clinic, we have developed a comprehensive portfolio of COVID-19 diagnostic testing solutions including multiplex rt-PCR detection and antibody testing and are able to provide rapid test results for diagnosis and travel purposes. This positioning hasn’t changed since this new strain has emerged. We pride ourselves on constantly adapting to meet the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue to do so should any further genetic variations be identified on the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
For more information about our Covid-19 testing options, click here.