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Covid-19 testing

 


  

Latest update 15 October 2020

Last chance to get an antibody test at a venue in Staffordshire

Antibody tests are available for adult social care staff at a range of venues in Staffordshire until 23 October only.  Please see the Antibody Testing page for details of venues and how to book a test.

An antigen test will tell you if you currently have the virus, whereas an antibody test will advise if you have previously been exposed to the virus

Further changes to guidance on re-testing individuals who previously tested positive

Please note: the guidance in relation to re-testing any individual who has previously tested positive has changed from six weeks to 90 days, unless they develop new possible Covid-19 symptoms, as set out in Section 5 of the latest Government guidance Covid-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings. This is because any repeat test would likely give a positive result due to the residual virus within the individual’s system. The DHSC have confirmed that following the relevant isolation period (14 days for care home residents, 10 days for everybody else) the individual would no longer be contagious if they are not displaying symptoms and there is no residual clinical risk of transmission.

Testing in supported living and extra care settings

Please see the Blanket Testing Programmes section below for more information about the Department of Health and Social Care's plans for one off testing in supported living and extra care settings in October, plus a link to their October national bulletin. 

New care home testing and FAQs pages

To make it easier to find the information you're looking for we have redesigned our pages.  This page now contains general information on antigen testing relevant to all care providers, and in addition we have three new pages:

 


 

Symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

 


  

Testing arrangements for care staff who are symptomatic

Any individual with symptoms can access a test through the national testing programme either by self-referral or employer referral. Local test centres include:

  • permanent drive through sites at the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, and Stafford Education and Enterprise Park, Beaconside
  • temporary walk through sites in Cannock and Newcastle
  • drive through mobile testing units which are deployed on a cyclical arrangement within Burton-on-Trent, Cannock, Cheadle, Leek, Tamworth and Uttoxeter

To find full address and availability details and book a test, please book online through the National Testing Programme’s self-referral or employer referral portals.  It is important to note that bookings at these sites are managed via a national portal and as such the local system has no control or influence over location or availability.  Alternatively, there are a limited number of self-administered home testing kits available for delivery.

 


 

Blanket testing programmes

Care homes

Information on blanket testing in care homes can be found on the Testing in care homes page 

Supported living and extra care settings

A new Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) programme of COVID-19 antigen testing for supported living and extra care services is planned for mid-October 2020. 

You can find the latest news from DHSC about the extra care and supported living testing programme here.  

The programme will test people who live within the setting and all staff (including bank, regularly used agency staff and relevant housing/maintenance staff).

Please note: At the moment, this is a one-off test only. DHSC will analyse the data from the testing and seek SAGE guidance to determine whether a programme of repeat testing is advised at a later date.

This will only be available to supported living and extra care settings that meet both of the following criteria:

  • A setting with substantial facilities shared between multiple people, (shared kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms) and
  • Where most residents receive the kind of personal care that is CQC regulated (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping).

We understand that you are likely to have further questions and as soon as we have further information, we will contact you again and update our testing webpages.

Domiciliary care

Asymptomatic testing for domiciliary care workers will be guided by the results from the Public Health England prevalence study into domiciliary care which is due shortly.

More information about Getting Tested  can be found on the Government's website, including links to guidance on testing.

 


 

Covid-19 reporting requirements

The following statutory reporting requirements apply to all providers:

  • All care providers must notify their report cases and outbreaks to Public Health England as soon as possible (outside of a known, existing outbreak).  Care homes should complete the online reporting tool, all other providers should call 0344 225 3560 select option 0 then option 2.
  • All care providers must notify RIDDOR if an employee has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work.  Please also notify RIDDOR if an employee sadly passes away as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
  • Registered care providers must notify the Care Quality Commission if COVID-19 affects the day to day running of their business. Individual cases do not need to be reported.

In addition, we may ask how many staff have been tested and the results of those tests and we would be grateful if you could continue to share this information with us to enable us to support you and meet our statutory duties.


 

Testing on discharge from hospital

In accordance with the guidance for stepdown of infection control precautions and discharging COVID-19 patients (section 5), and the Covid-19 adult social care action plan, all patients discharged to a care facility (whether a care home, supported living or extra care facility) should have been tested by the hospital for Covid-19 48 hours prior to discharge, and that result relayed to the receiving organisation. 



 

NHS QR code

From 24 September 2020, all venues in England which see visitors or have customer receptions need to legally clearly display a NHS QR code poster.

The new requirement does not explicitly mention adult and social care settings, however, the Government encourages the creation of a QR code poster for entrances to venues if it is one that is visited by members of the public or has a space where people are able to congregate.

This poster allows members of the public to scan with the new NHS Covid-19 app and check-in. As some visitors do not have an app or access to a smart phone, an alternative method of registration would still need to be in place.

Staff do not need to scan QR codes when coming to work – your normal methods of recording staff attendance should continue.

You can find out how to create a Coronavirus QR code for your venue and print a poster to be displayed at the Government’s Create a Coronavirus QR website. 

For further information and common questions around the NHS Covid-19 app and QR code posters, please visit the NHS Covid-19 app support website.

 


 

Impact of test and trace system on health and care settings

The government has just introduced the new test and trace system to minimise community transmission of Covid-19.  

Following a positive test, contact tracers will work with the individual to determine close contact in the 48 hours before onset of symptoms. Close contact is defined as:

  • having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)
  • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane

The following guidance was updated on 18 August 2020 regarding how test and trace is likely to impact on health and care settings Covid-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings

Most relevantly it states:

  • if you have had close recent contact with someone who has Covid-19, you must self-isolate if the NHS test and trace service advises you to do so, however
  • close contact excludes circumstances where PPE is being worn in accordance with current guidance on infection, prevention and control.

Please note: that our provider incident management service is operational 7 days per week, currently 9am to 5pm to support homes experiencing any difficulties such as insufficient care or clinical staff or access to PPE. Please contact us at ascincidentmanagement@staffordshire.gov.uk

 


 

What to do if you or your staff are contacted by the Test and Trace Programme

As you will be aware, the government’s Test and Trace programme is at the heart of the country’s drive to prevent a second peak of Covid-19 infections in the country.

With lockdown easing further from July 4 2020, it is hugely important that everyone is not only aware of Test and Trace, but if they are contacted by a NHS tracer they should self-isolate for 14 days.

It is also important that care workers across all settings let the tracers know that they work in a care setting, this will help prioritise tracing and continue to help the most vulnerable.

With this in mind we would be very grateful if you could share the message below with all your employees:

 


 

Test and trace scam warning (issued 20 June 2020)

Adult social care providers are advised to read and inform their staff of the Local Government Association test and trace scam alert article warning that criminals are trying to trick people out of money by pretending to be from the NHS Test and Trace Service through bogus phone calls, emails and text messages asking for bank card details to cover the cost of the testing kit.

Please note: the genuine NHS service is free.

 


 

Government guidance on the management of exposed staff and patients in health and social care settings

The Government has updated its guidance on the management of workers and patients exposed to Covid-19, (28 September 2020) to include guidance on when health and social care staff can be exempt from being considered a contact for the purposes of Test and Trace. This now clarifies that if health and social care staff are providing direct care to a patient or a resident with Covid-19 and are wearing the correct PPE (in accordance with the current infection prevention and control guidance), they will not be considered as a contact for the purposes of contact tracing and isolation and will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The guidance also has flow charts describing the return to work processes for symptomatic staff and asymptomatic staff.

 


 

 

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