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Testing

New lateral flow tests (LFT) for care home staff, residents and visitors (27.11.20)

The Department of Health and Social Care have set out proposals for an extension of the lateral flow test program into care homes for staff, residents and visitors.

Lateral flow tests are rapid turnaround tests that can process COVID-19 samples on site without the need for laboratory equipment, with most generating results in under half an hour. These tests have been piloted across England, including a two-week whole-city pilot in Liverpool, and are now in use in a variety of settings.

The programme is being run by the Department of Health and Social Care, who will be contacting care providers directly with details of how to access test kits, perform the tests and record the results. Please look out for correspondence coming from the DHSC.

While we await further details, we are able to share the following information.

  • All CQC registered care homes will be included in the programme, which will be rolled out in two waves through December 2020, the first wave targeting some of the largest care homes across the country
  • Details of the rollout have yet to be confirmed; however, we anticipate that care providers will be provided with sufficient lateral flow test kits to test all residents and staff on a weekly basis. This will be in addition to the current PCR swabbing testing meaning that:
    • residents will be tested weekly using the lateral flow tests and every 28 days using the PCR swabs, and
    • staff will be tested twice weekly, once with the lateral flow test and once with the PCR swabs
  • Reordering will be through a web portal due to go live before the end of December
  • Training and guidance will be provided directly by the Department of Health and Social Care, who will contact each care provider individually. This will include training for individuals and access to a webinar detailing the whole process

Testing for visitors will start to the same timescales, with care providers receiving an allocation of lateral flow test kits to enable all visitors to be tested each time they visit a resident. The expectation is that visitors will be asked to take a test at the care home in a specially designated area and to wait for 30 minutes until the result is received. During this time the visitors should not be mixing with anyone. If the test is negative the visitor can enter the home to visit a resident. If positive they will not be permitted to visits and would be asked to take a PCR test.

Homes that have current outbreaks will not be permitted to have visitors.

We understand that you will have many questions about how this testing will be rolled out across Norfolk. At this stage we are not able to provide any further information but will update this page as and when further information becomes available.

In the meantime, please look out for further information coming directly to you from the DHSC.

Home care testing – key points (20.11.20)

Testing

Homecare workers will soon be able to get regular (weekly) testing for Covid-19. From 23 November homecare providers will be contacted to sign up to order test kits.

Workers displaying symptoms should get a test. Those not displaying symptoms do not have to a get a test (even if they are self-isolating), but they can if they wish to. If a care worker needs a test and doesn’t have access to a test kit, they should access a test through self-referral or employer referral.

Further coronavirus information for home care providers.

Self-isolation

Homecare workers who have been in contact with a positive coronavirus case should follow guidance and self-isolate.

Currently, contacts of contacts do not need to self-isolate. For example, if you are a contact of a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, but you do not have symptoms, other people living with you do not need to self-isolate and should follow the general guidance.

Guidance on when people should self-isolate.

Arrangements for care home testing (09.10.20)

On 6 July 2020 the Government announced an extension to the Covid-19 testing programme in care homes in England. This included changes to testing arrangements for when an outbreak is identified, and secondly, an ongoing programme of retesting for residents and staff in care homes which do not currently have an outbreak. See a summary of the arrangements

NHS Test and Trace (28.09.20)

What the app does

Information and resources for businesses

Test and Trace letter to local authority chief executives 11 September 2020

Weekend testing for Care Homes (24.08.20)

The vast majority of care home testing is being carried out during the week. This means the labs have experienced a significant surge of swabs during the week, and then there is under-used lab capacity on weekends. This surge of testing during the week also means that test results can take longer because of the volume of tests that need processing at that time.

As a result, the Department of Health are asking all care homes to consider testing at weekends wherever possible to help get a test to everyone who needs it. If homes test at the weekend, the labs will be less busy and so you should also get your results quicker. 

All care homes who placed an order for test kits before 14 August will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, asking them to commit to weekend testing if they are able to do so. All homes placing an order on or after 14 August are asked to commit to weekend testing when placing their order.

Antibody testing (20.08.20)

We sent out a letter on the 10 August 2020 for the attention of Care Home Managers, Care Home Staff, Domiciliary Care Staff and Personal Assistants to provide important information on how to access an antibody test within Norfolk and Waveney.

Testing update for care homes (06.08.20)

The latest information for care homes on retesting for residents and staff in care homes; providing details of when to test, isolate and retest:

Re-testing after a positive test result

If a resident has tested positive, they should be isolated for a period of 14 days. They don’t need to be retested for a period of six weeks, following the initial test. Repeat positives should be regarded as part of the original infection for a period of six weeks and do not need to be isolated beyond the initial 14 days.

Staff testing positive need to isolate for 10 days and can return on day 11, provided symptoms have improved and they have been free from fever for 48 hrs. They don’t need to be retested for a period of six weeks, following the initial test. Repeat positives should be regarded as part of the original infection for a period of six weeks.

This update has implications for planning of the regular screening of residents (every 28 days) and staff (every seven days): Individuals who have previously tested positive do not need to be re-tested for six weeks.

View flowcharts for symptomatic and asymptomatic workers returning to work following a test.

Situations where there is only one symptomatic person in a care home, who tests negative

  • The suspected (symptomatic) case to be isolated for 14 days
  • Repeat the testing for this individual in case of a false negative or poor sample 
  • The staff are being tested weekly and the residents every 28 days 
  • Although it is not flu season yet, may consider in this situation testing for other respiratory viruses

Care Provider Incident Room (CPIR)

Email: nwccg.cpir@nhs.net

Telephone: 01603 257231

The following providers may use CPIR to report outbreaks and incidents of Covid-19 among their client populations and/or staff teams:

  • Care home
  • Nursing home
  • Domiciliary care agency
  • Supported living provider
  • Housing with care provider
  • Day service (Life Opportunities)
  • Any other Norfolk County Council Adult Social Care commissioned service

Relevant support is available from Norfolk County Council and Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group partners via this single point of contact. Providers required to notify Public Health England should continue to do so in addition to contacting CPIR.

Find out how and who can get tested for COVID-19

See guidance on reporting suspected cases of COVID-19.

See Norfolk and Waveney Care Home Residents and Staff COVID 19 Testing Pathway.

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