Frequently asked questions
This webpage is designed to answer frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and other Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI), raised by adult social care providers.
Please note, this information is regularly reviewed and updated, however any information will be superseded by any changes to relevant national guidance, including but not limited to:
If your question is not answered, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
People who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments should take an LFD test if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection.
If an outbreak is confirmed, care homes should commence outbreak management testing (using LFD test kits):
- Testing the first 5 linked resident cases with symptoms of a respiratory infection regardless of their eligibility for COVID-19 treatments
- Subsequently only testing residents with symptoms of a respiratory infection who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments thereafter
- The outbreak can be declared over, 5 days after the date of the last case
An outbreak is 2 or more positive or clinically suspected ARI linked cases in the same setting in a 5-day period.
A provider should report a single case of Influenza.
A provider should report suspected or confirmed outbreaks to UKHSA.
A provider should undertake a risk assessment as soon as possible to determine there is an outbreak and the measures required to manage this.
The provider is not required to wait for advice should they feel able to initiate the risk assessment independently.
In addition, a provider should report COVID-19 incidents to UKHSA if they are of concern, for example if:
- there is a high number of deaths or hospitalisations
- cases are increasing rapidly
- there are staffing shortages or concerns about safety within the care home
- there is a suspected outbreak of another infection in addition to COVID-19.
If a person is eligible for COVID-19 treatments, they can access LFD test kits, via their local pharmacy. We recommend you ring in advance to check your local pharmacy is participating and has sufficent supplies.
Care homes can continue to use the on-line portal to order LFD test kits specifically for the purpose of outbreak management testing only. Test kits for symptomatic individual residents should be collected from the pharmacy.
Only Adult social care staff who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments should take an LFD test if they have symptoms. If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19 should stay away from work for a minimum of 5 days after they took the test (regardless of their symptoms).
Whilst absent from the workplace, adult social care staff should follow the guidance for the general public.
After 5 days they can return to the workplace if they do not have a high temperature and/or feel well enough to work. If a staff member continues to show symptoms of a respiratory infection on their return to work, a risk assessment should be completed.
Care home residents who test positive for COVID-19 should be supported to minimise their contact with others for a minimum of 5 days.
Typically, care home residents do not need to minimise their contact with others for more than 10 days.
If a care home resident who is eligible for COVID-19 treatments continues to show symptoms of a respiratory infection after 10 days, they should continue to minimise their contact with others and clinical advice should be sought.
Other people receiving care and support who test positive for COVID-19, for example receiving home care and attending day opportunities, should follow the guidance for the general public. People should let their home care provider know so they can take appropriate precautions (including wearing the required PPE).
The guidance details the scenarios when PPE (including face masks, gloves, aprons and visors) should be worn by adult social care staff and visitors to care homes due to COVID-19 (noting it is required in other circumstances as well).
The recent changes in guidance recommend PPE is donned and doffed at least 1 metre away from the suspected or confirmed person they are supporting.
In the event of an outbreak of COVID-19, each resident should (as a minimum) be able to have one visitor at a time inside the care home. This visitor does not need to be the same person throughout the outbreak. They do not need to be a family member and could be a volunteer or befriender.
Additionally, end-of-life visiting should be supported in all circumstances.