Covid-19 Practice Staff & Self-Isolation (Test & Trace)
From Monday 16th August, the government’s requirements to self-isolate after a positive COVID-19 contact have changed. NHSE sent out a letter that outlines how this change will impact staff and students working in the NHS.
Fully vaccinated staff and students who are identified as a contact of a positive COVID-19 case will no longer be expected to isolate and will be expected to return to work. The government guidance states the following shall apply:-
- the staff member should not have any COVID-19 symptoms
- the staff member should immediately arrange for a PCR test, either through their workplace arrangements or via the NHS Test and Trace service, and the result of this PCR test should be negative prior to returning to work
- following the negative PCR result, the staff member should undertake an LFD antigen test every day for the 10 days following their last contact with the case (even on days they are not at work)
- if a staff member has had a SARS-CoV-2 infection in the past 90 days, they should not have a PCR test and should only undertake daily LFD antigen tests
- on days the staff member is working, the LFD antigen test should be taken before starting their shift, and the result should be negative
- the staff member should comply with all relevant infection control precautions and PPE should be worn properly throughout the day
- if the staff member works with patients or residents who are highly vulnerable to COVID-19 (as determined by the organisation), a risk assessment should be undertaken, and consideration given to redeployment during their 10 day self-isolation period
If the above criteria cannot be met, (including if the staff member/student has not had both doses of the vaccine, or they are living directly (same household) with a positive COVID-19 case), please refer to the NHSE letter in detail for actions required and also the latest government guidance that will remain under review and subject to change.
You may find this flowchart useful, a full copy can be found attached the the NHSE letter.
If you need to make contact with the Health Protection Agency for their approval on any cases in the workplace, you can find your local contact via the link Wessex LMCs: Covid-19 Notifiable Disease Information & find your local Health Protection Agency
UKHSA (previously PHE) have also produced this useful poster about self isolation and PCR testing