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COVID-19 testing for day centres


Who is eligible?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published the following eligibility criteria for day centres:

  • Services for adults aged over 18 to support their health and wellbeing
  • Service run by paid for care staff
  • Services provided in non-residential care settings i.e. community building, attached to a care home or supported living setting



What type of test is recommended?

The DHSC recommends day centre staff should test routinely using PCR and LFD test kits.

People who attend day centres should test routinely using LFD test kits.



What is the recommended testing regime?

The recommended testing regime for day centre staff is:

  • PCR test once per week – ideally the same day each week between Thursday and Sunday
  • LFD test twice per week – one LFD test should be completed on the same day as the PCR and another LFD test three to four days later
  • LFD testing should be completed before starting work

Ideally, day centre staff should continue to test when they are not working, for example due to leave or sickness.

People who attend day centres should test twice per week using LFD test kits, with three to four days in-between tests. 

Ideally, LFD tests should be completed before attending the day centre if sharing any travel arrangements (including the use of public transport).

If a person is only attending once or twice per week they only need to test on the day(s) they attend.

Testing is not mandatory for people who attend day centres and they should not be prevented from attending if they do not wish to / cannot be tested.



How are test kits ordered?

To set up an account, the day centre should use the self-referral portal:

  1. Quote the unique organisation number (UON) once only: 99915258 to establish their account (this UON cannot be used to order test kits).
  2. Complete the required eligibility questions
  3. Complete their day centre details

If you own / operate more than one day centre, a separate registration will need to be completed for each day centre.

Once the initial application has been submitted by the setting, the DHSC sends the information to the local authority to confirm a day centre is eligible.

The on-boarding process typically takes seven to ten days.

Once a day centre is on-boarded, they will be provided with a UON to order test kits using the portal.

Once an order has been placed, the day centre representative will receive confirmatory email. The day centre will receive a second email to advise of the delivery arrangements.

The portal will tell the day centre when they are next able to order test kits.



How do you test?

Day centre staff typically complete their PCR and LFD tests at home. 

The day centre manager / suitable representative should provide each staff member with:

  • Four PCR test kits
  • Two boxes of seven LFD tests kits and one confirmatory PCR (if available)
  • the UON for the day centre
  • information on how to competently complete PCR and LFD tests
  • information on how to register PCR and LFD tests
  • information on how to return to the PCR, including individual Royal Mail return labels

People who attend day centres typically complete their LFD test at home.

The day centre manager / suitable representative should provide each person attending / their carer with:

  • Two boxes of seven LFD tests kits and one confirmatory PCR (if available)
  • the UON for the day centre
  • information on how to competently complete LFD tests
  • information on how to register LFD tests
  • information on how to return to the confirmatory PCR, including individual Royal Mail return labels (if available)

PCR and LFD tests require a combined throat and nasal swab. Where it is not possible to take a combined swab, a nasal swab (both nostrils) is sufficient.

Each PCR and LFD test kit contains instructions on how to complete a test. Videos can be located in the supporting guidance.

Alternatively, day centre representatives can attend a webinar and refer to COVID-19 testing for adult social care settings detailing how to test and the reporting process.

Day centre staff member should register their PCR test kit on-line. They will need to enter the UON of the day centre the PCR test kit barcode and personal details.

The PCR test should returned using a Royal Mail Priority post box, as per instructions, on the same day the PCR test was completed.

Every LFD result should be reported online. People should select they are testing for a ‘social care service’ and enter the UON of the day centre, alongside other requested information.

If a staff member or person attending / their carer is unable to report their own results, the day centre may enter results on their behalf. 

If a staff member or user is not report results digitally, they can call 119 to register their results.

It is the discretion of the day centre, to facilitate on-site testing. If a day centre tests on-site, it is important follows the required steps in the guidance and supporting documentation, including creation of a designated area, wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE) if swabbing others and asscoiated processes. 



How are results reported?

The details used to register the PCR test kit will receive an email and text message, containing the results.

Day centre staff and people attending day centres should immediately start to isolate and inform the day centre if they test positive for COVID-19.

If a person receives a positive LFD result, they should take a confirmatory PCR test within two days of the initial LFD test.



What are the reporting requirements?

Day centres are required to report COVID-19 cases to the council and Public Health England.



Help and information 

Regular testing for adult day care centres in England detailed the step by step process. 

COVID-19 testing for adult social care settings details the different types of testing available for each setting and how to test.

Day centres should contact 119 in the first instance; alternatively they can contact the council for further support.

Social Care Institute for Excellence offers helpful guidance to services.

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