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