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Covid-19 testing and infection control



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 all care staff who are symptomatic

For quick access to a local test, our current advice is for care workers to continue to book COVID-19 tests by emailing us at covid19workforce@northstaffs.nhs.uk with the following details:

  • your name or the name of the staff requiring testing
  • contact telephone number
  • include ‘Staff Test Request’ as the subject line

This testing is aimed at all care workers who are symptomatic, including those working in nursing, residential and home care, as well as supported living, extra care and day services. Please make your teams aware of the testing offer and ensure you have the necessary processes in place to access it. 

The staff or household member to be tested will be contacted to arrange a test within 24 hours. Please make sure the staff or household member checks their telephone, including answering machine, to check for messages.

Tests will be carried out at drive-through facilities at Stoke City Football Club (Bet 365 Stadium) and Burton Albion Football Club by appointment only.

If staff or household members have serious difficulties accessing one of the testing facilities, please advise the person who calls to arrange a test. A small number of slots are available for staff to be tested at home; the test will be administered by an infection control nurse. 

Please note: availability for home testing is extremely limited, please try to make arrangements to travel to a testing centre if possible, it is acceptable for a household member to transport somebody they live with for a test if they are not well enough to drive themselves.

Results will be available via email or text directly to the individual tested generally 72 hours after testing. It is the individual’s responsibility to communicate the results with their employer.

Alternatively, staff with symptoms can access a test through the national testing system either by self-referral or employer referral if the locations are more convenient. More information about this can be found on the Direct Gov website. Tests can be arranged by appointment at either a regional testing site or a mobile testing unit dependent upon the closest available site, alternatively there are a limited number of self-administered home testing kits available for delivery. 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.

More details on how to book a test and the action to take on receiving results are available below to download and print out.



Care home settings

A new national portal was launched last week through which care homes can request tests for:

  • all residents with and without symptoms
  • staff without symptoms.

This service provided by the Department of Health and Social Care will be rolled out to all care homes in a phased approach; it is currently available for care homes whose primary clients are older people or those with dementia.

The government has asked that local authorities and the NHS prioritise care homes for testing, based on a range of factors including size. Our preference would be for the local authority, in partnership with the CCG, to register care homes for testing on the portal on your behalf, rather than individual care homes registering on the portal directly. This will enable us to manage and keep track of which care homes are being tested and support care homes in the event of positive cases.

We will proceed to register eligible care homes for testing. We would be very grateful if you could let us know if you have already registered through the portal to request tests and keep us up to date as to when you receive them, when they are collected, when you receive the results and what the results are.

Staffordshire care homes

For care homes based in Staffordshire please email COVID19testresults@staffordshire.gov.uk

Stoke care homes

For care homes based in Stoke-on-Trent please email covid19@stoke.gov.uk

Following registration, eligible care homes will receive delivery of home testing kits. Care staff and nurses who will be responsible for swabbing residents in care homes should first complete an online swabbing competency assessment. More information about this and the process can be found on the government's website.

We would recommend appropriate staff within care homes undertake the online competency assessment training as soon as possible. Following completion, if care homes are concerned about conducting the tests themselves and would like some support, please email infection.control@mpft.nhs.uk at least 48 hours before the tests are due to arrive and we will endeavour to make arrangements to support you.

We understand that testing of staff and residents is a major concern for care homes, and we are doing everything we can to ensure care homes have the information and support they need. The coronavirus testing guidance for care homes below can be downloaded and printed out. It should help you to understand the testing routes and options available to you:



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, and has produced two flowcharts which describe the return to work process for symptomatic and asymptomatic workers following a SARS-CoV-2 test. 



Staffordshire’s Infection Control Resource Pack

Health partners in Staffordshire have compiled useful links and resources on infection control and PPE specifically for care homes, some of which are relevant for other care settings, as set out below:

Bespoke infection control advice for all care providers

The Red Day telephone line is available for care providers who are having infection control issues and need guidance. You can contact the on-call Infection Control team on 07977 208 783 between the following times:

  • Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm
  • Saturday - Sunday 8am - 4pm

Infection control resources for care homes and other care settings:

Infection control resources for care homes only:

The recommended PPE resources can be found on the PPE page.



Covid-19 seminar for staff working in nursing, residential, supported living and domiciliary care settings held on 14 May 2020

Public Health England West Midlands ran a further seminar on 14 May which included new information on the course of the illness (slide 7 of the presentation pack below), an update on typical symptoms, including symptoms in care home settings (slide 9) and a revised timeline of events during the pandemic. The information contained in the presentation slide pack below is available for downloading and was correct on the date of the presentation.

Important note: up-to-date details of our local Covid-19 testing programme can be found in the testing arrangements section of this page.



Helpful links to national guidance on infection control

Guidance on cleaning in community and public settings after the case has left the setting or area, including advice on laundry and waste disposal.

This is specific guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, including people living at home with or without additional support and people in long-term care facilities. It's also for their family, friends and carers. Care home and home care providers should ensure they are familiar with the contents of this guidance. 

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Latest social care and health news

Additional support for care providers

Another £1.17 million has been allocated by Staffordshire County Council towards the cost of PPE for care homes and carers visiting people in their own homes.
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More than one million items of PPE delivered to protect Staffordshire's care frontline

The number of gloves, masks, aprons and other safety equipment delivered by Staffordshire County Council to the care frontline has now topped one million.
21 May 2020

More support for care leavers

Looked-after Staffordshire youngsters taking their first steps towards independence are being given more support during the current Covid-19 crisis.
21 May 2020

More time to nominate for Dignity in Care Awards

People interested in nominating work colleagues, carers, friends and family members or volunteers for a special award have been given more time to do so.
19 May 2020

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