COVID-19 Contact Isolation Exemption Policy and Procedure
Covid 19 contact isolation exemption for social care providers
From Monday 16 August 2021, the government has announced people identified as contact of a Covid 19 case may not be required to self isolate, if they fulfil one of four criteria. The criteria which will likely impact social care settings is:
- Fully vaccinated - with 14 days expiring since the date of the final dose and last contact with the Covid 19 case
- Medically exempt from vaccination
People identified as contacts will be encouraged to take a PCR test and minimise social contact with others during this time.
It is important to remember, the vaccination does not eliminate the risk of you contracting and/or transmitting Covid 19, however it can reduce the likelihood and symptoms.
Social care staff
Social care staff identified as contact of a Covid 19 case, are not required to isolate and can attend work, noting:
- Staff are only permitted to work if they are symptom free for the duration
- Staff are required to complete a PCR test before returning to the workplace; staff should receive a negative test result before returning to the workplace
- Staff are required to LFD test daily for 10 consecutive days from the date of the last known contact with the Covid 19 case (this includes on days they are not working) and report all results
- If the staff member has tested positive for Covid 19 in the last 90 days, they are not required to take a PCR test, however they are required to LFD test daily for 10 consecutive days from the date of the last known contact with the Covid 19 case (this includes on days they are not working) and report results
- Staff are required to follow strict IPC measures and report any breaches or concerns immediately
- Staff are required to minimise social contact with others
- If the staff member works with 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 contact period
Further detailed information can be found in Covid 19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings.
We are advised the guidance for home care workers will be updated shortly, in the interim, the aforementioned guidance should be adhered to.
Unvaccinated staff members who are exempt from vaccination (for example due to medical reasons or due to age) should not attend work or should be redeployed for the period of time they would be required to self-isolate.
LFD testing is not optional in these circumstances; please see our webpages on the different ways LFD tests / test kits can be sourced.
For the avoidance of doubt, people who test positive for Covid 19 are not exempt from isolation; this is a legal requirement. Care home residents are required to isolate for 14 days. Staff and others in receipt of adult social care are required to isolate for 10 days.
Care home residents
In addition to the aforementioned guidance, the admissions to care home guidance has been updated to reflect how the changes impact care home residents. Fully vaccinated care home residents are not required to isolate if they are identified as a contact of a Covid 19 case, provided they:
- Are asymptomatic
- Receive a negative PCR test
- LFD test daily for 10 consecutive days (the contact period)
- Minimise their contact with others who are highly vulnerable
- Follow any specified measures as part of an outbreak or incident
Care homes should refer to the care home visiting guidance and visits out of care homes guidance also, to understand the impact this change has on safely conducting visits.
Locally we are strongly recommending cohorting of residents who are contacts of Covid 19 cases with other contacts and/or maximising social distancing in communal areas, to reduce the risk of transmission.
If you require any information or support, please do not hesitate to contact us via email: C19LocalOutbreakControl@staffordshire.gov.uk
Local policy and process will remain under regular review, as in accordance with national government guidance.