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COVID-19 frequently asked questions

Updated on 18th June 2021


This pages contains a frequently asked questions about COVID-19 testing in adult social care settings.

Useful information and advice can be found in the supporting national guidance.

Useful advice can also be found on the individual COVID-19 testing webpages for each adult social care setting:


What should I do if you suspect an outbreak?

Typically, an outbreak is defined as two or more suspected and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19 associated with a setting in the same fourteen day period, with an epidemiological link and/or identified exposure between at least two cases, dependent on the setting type.

Typically a cluster is defined as two or more suspected and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19 associated with a setting in the same fourteen period, with no epidemiological link and/or identified exposure between at least two cases, dependent on the setting type.

If you suspect an outbreak in your setting, you should contact Public Health England and the council for advice and support.

Contact tracing will help to identify and isolate any contacts and you may be requested to undertake further COVID-19 testing.

Care homes, extra care and supported living settings should implement the recommended testing regimes without delay.



Should somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last ninety days be retested?

If a person has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last ninety days, they should not be retested unless they show symptoms of COVID-19.

This means staff and people who live in or attend adult social care settings, who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last ninety days, should not be testing as part of routine or outbreak management testing.

Visitors to adult social care settings, who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last ninety days, should not be tested to allow visiting.

It is important a person is able to demonstrate the date they tested positive for COVID-19 so they can start testing again after ninety days. 



Do I need to report all COVID-19 cases?

It is important all regulated services report cases as per the regulatory requirements. 

Regulated services should also update the capacity tracker

Locally, we are advising all adult social care settings to report all cases of COVID-19, including single cases, suspected and confirmed to help stop the spread of infection.



What do I do if my courier does not turn up?

Testing in adult social care settings should not be started until a courier has been booked and confirmed (this applies to care homes, supported living and extra care schemes).

Adult care settings should contact 119 if the courier fails to arrive. 



What do I do if I run out of test kits?

Each adult social care setting should ensure they have enough test kits to carry out routine and outbreak management testing, as per the recommended testing regime.

If an adult social care setting runs out of test kits, please contact 119 and the council to discuss.



What happens if a combined nasal and throat swab is not possible?

A combined nasal and throat swab is preferable. However if this is not possible, a nasal swab may be sufficient. 

 It is really important the person taking the swab is confident. Further resources are available on the government website and in the testing guidance for each adult social care setting type. 

 If you require practical support, please contact the council.



Can I speed up the test results?

LFD test kits provide results in 30 minutes.

PCR test kits are sent to the laboratory for processing, results typically take forty eight to seventy two hours depending on laboratory capacity. These results can not be sped up.

Testing at the weekend, where possible, is encouraged.

If you do not receive test result by day six, you should contact 119.



Do I need to wait for 30 minutes when taking an LFD test?

The control line, to indicate the test is in process, typically appears in the first few minutes of the solution being placed on the test cartridge.

Positive results are usually reported in 20 minutes (test line).

Negative results are usually reported in 30 minutes (no test line).

It is important to wait the full period time, as above.



Can people test at home, instead of on-site?

Adult social care settings should refer to the testing guidance for their setting. These documents will advise who is able to test at home and who is required to test on-site.



What happens if I upload an incorrect LFD test result?

If a person associated with an adult social care setting uploads an incorrect result, for example a person uploads a positive LFD test result when they are negative, an appropriate representative in the setting should be informed.

Advice should be taken from 119 and the council about the next steps.



How can can I avoid inconclusive or void results?

The most common reason for inconclusive PCR results is 'vial leakage'. Please ensure completed PCR test vials are properly sealed and stored upright.



How can I get a test for a new admission to a care home?

PCR tests for admission to a care home are completed by Infection Prevention Control (IPC) colleagues:

Email: infection.control@mpft.nhs.uk

Phone: 01889 571837

Referrals can be made by the allocated social care practitioner.

If a person is a self-funder / does not have an allocated social care practitioner, they can contact IPC directly.



Who should be tested on discharge from hospital?

Residents of care homes, supported living and extra care should be tested forty-eight prior to their discharge from a clinical setting, unless they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last ninety days.

If a care home resident is positive for COVID-19 on discharge, they should not return to the care home during their infectious period; they should be discharged to a designated setting



What happens if a person tests positive for COVID-19?

If any person tests positive for COVID-19 they should immediately isolate for the specified period of time (care home residents should isolate for fourteen days and all others for ten days, typically).

If a visitor tests positive for COVID-19 they should not visit the intended adult social care setting.

If it is not possible for a care home resident to isolate, and it is not possible to cohort and/or maintain social distancing, local advice should be sought from the council.

If the adult social care setting has a number of staff absent and this affects their ability to operate safely, they should contact the council.



What happens if a person receives an inconclusive test result?

A repeat test should be reorganised asap if a person has symptoms and/or the test is part of routine testing.

If a person has symptoms they should continue to isolate until their PCR test result is received.

If a person does not have symptoms, and they have not been identified as a contact of COVID-19 case, they do not need to isolate. 



What happens if a person refuses to be tested?

It is important every person consents to being tested. 

If a person does not have capacity, the principles of and processes specified the Mental Capacity Act should be adhered to.

If a person is refusing to be tested in a registered setting, please contact the council for a further discussion.



Do I need to test all visiting professionals to a care home?

Care homes should consider the visiting professionals guidance to determine if a visiting professional can present evidence from a testing regime or if they are required to test on-site on arrival.

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