Businesses across Staffordshire are being urged to get their staff tested for coronavirus as part of a rapid testing programme.

The initiative from Staffordshire County Council, which is leading the fight against the virus in the county,is to increase the amount of testing across the county to help control the spread of Covid-19.

Alton Towers is among the firms that has already signed up to be a testing facility and for the nearby community.

Community testing centres have also been rolled out in each of the eight district and boroughs in the county.

The council is making the offer to businesses with employees who cannot work from home due to the nature of their job to provide regular testing of their staff in a bid to cut cases.

One in three people who are infected display no symptoms and are an important vector in the spread of the virus, a spokesman for the council said.

Testing for people without symptoms helps to identify and isolate cases and break the chain of transmission.

The council said that regular testing of employees has a number of benefits for businesses:

Businesses who want to offer testing will be provided with equipment, training, funding to cover their costs, and all the advice they need to establish their own programmes.

The county council is especially interested in involving businesses:

Dr Johnny McMahon, the council's cabinet member for health, care and wellbeing, said: "By joining this testing programme, businesses will be playing a key role in protecting their employees and the wider community.

"By identifying cases quickly, they can avoid large outbreaks that can be disruptive to their operations.

Find out how many coronavirus cases there have been in your area by typing your postcode here:

"They will also be helping to protect vulnerable people and support the covid control efforts to get the number of cases down.

"I would urge business to sign up to the testing programme.

"We all need to play our part in getting infections down, and regular testing is one way of reducing the number of cases and getting restrictions lifted."

Any interested businesses are asked to contact [email protected] or submit an expression of interest at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Community testing sites for people without symptoms in Staffordshire

Cannock Chase:

Cannock Leisure Centre, Stafford Road, Cannock, WS11 4AL

East Staffordshire:

Hillfield House, Hillfield Lane, Burton, DE13 0BW

Lichfield:

Burntwood Leisure Centre, High Street, Chasetown, Burntwood, WS7 3XH (Thursday only)

Newcastle-under-Lyme:

Seabridge Centre, Ash Way, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 3UB

South Staffordshire:

Wombourne Library, Church Road, Wombourne, WV5 9EZ

Stafford:

Kingston Centre, Fairway, Stafford, ST16 3TW

Staffordshire Moorlands:

Biddulph Leisure Centre, Thames Drive, Biddulph, ST8 7HL

Tamworth:

Tamworth Campus, Croft Street, Tamworth, B79 8AE