Supporting Kent's Response To COVID-19 - Cantium
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Photograph of somebody completing a mouth swab for covid-19 test

Kent's Response to COVID-19

Like much of the UK, Kent has seen rising levels of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in recent months, and has also been particularly affected by the prevalence of the recent virus mutation. Kent County Council (KCC), one of the largest councils in the country providing more than 300 public services including emergency services and public safety, is overseeing the response to rising cases within the county. Part of KCC’s response plan has been the rapid set-up of multiple testing centres to help deliver asymptomatic Coronavirus tests to the county’s 1.8 million citizens.

Photograph of servers in a rack, inside of a data centre

Kent's Asymptomatic Testing Centres

It is estimated that up to 1 in 3 people may have COVID-19 without any symptoms at all. This is causing escalating rates across the country as people unknowingly transmit the virus within their communities. To help reduce the rates of transmission in Kent, KCC needed to rapidly stand up 14 asymptomatic testing centres within the first week of January 2021 and a further 10 in the second week.

These test sites have the capacity for over 13,000 tests per day. All members of the public without COVID symptoms who live or work in Kent are able to book a test. Citizens attending the testing sites will undergo a lateral flow swab test and receive their results within a couple of hours by text or email. Those who test positive will be told to immediately self-isolate and contact NHS Test & Trace. Those testing negative will need to continue following national guidelines of mask-wearing and social distancing.

The rapid deployment of critical testing centres required swift setup of IT infrastructure to enable the staff to accurately check-in citizens and keep record of crucial data.

Two Cantium employees working in the data centre on server maintenance.

Full IT Infrastructure Delivered in Days

Kent County Council briefed Cantium near the end of December 2020 to provide the IT infrastructure and support for the 24 centres, due to start opening just over a week later.

Our team worked around the clock in the short period between Christmas and New Year to deliver this project to an accelerated timescale, which involved:

  • Sourcing hardware of all required hardware, including laptops, smartphones and tablets
  • Configuration of 48 laptops with dual accounts to enable use by 2 members of staff at each test site
  • Build, configuration and asset tagging of 168 smartphones and 100 tablets
  • Creation of over 450 new user accounts
  • Wireless access points installed at some sites to provide WiFi internet access

Through our IT Service Desk, we set up priority channels to ensure immediate support of any issues experienced at the test sites and to offer out-of-hours support, 7 days a week. Cantium’s fully flexible working policy means our staff choose to work hours that suit them, allowing us to have cohorts of staff available outside of the typical 9 to 5.

With the required IT set-up and out-of-hours support established in time for launch, Kent’s testing centres are now delivering rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 testing across the county to help stem the progression of the virus and protect the county’s citizens from infection.


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