Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

There have been a number of queries relating to care home resident testing before transfer onto another placement, so we thought it would be helpful to clarify the latest position of what to do and the supporting rationale regarding residents who have previously tested positive.

Should homes test all residents who have previously tested positive before transfer to another placement?

If the resident is asymptomatic, displaying no symptoms other than a cough, and it's been 14 days from the first onset of symptoms / date of positive test then they do not need to be re-tested.

'Asymptomatic' requires that they don't need medication to control their temperature

The rationale being:

  • Their COVID-19 status is known - positive and date tested positive
  • They have passed the 14 day mark and are asymptomatic - not needing treatment to keep temperature at normal levels
  • To obtain a negative result from someone previously positive will take a minimum of 4-5 weeks to achieve because the swab will detect dead viral RNA for up to approx. 4-5 weeks post infection
  • Re-testing post-COVID-19 within the 4-5 week time frame will suggest they remain positive due to above explanation
  • Remember we allow staff to return to work on day 8 provided they are asymptomatic

If the resident remains symptomatic, again they do not require re-testing as their status is known. A clinical decision would be needed to risk assess the residents fitness for transfer, the level of risk posed to others as part of the transfer, risks for the receiving placement and its residents along with the receiving placements ability to provide a single room for continued isolation, management and treatment as per the government guidance.

When completing the capacity tracker how do I record C19 status for those residents who have been tested positive who are post 14 days?

  • Resident tested positive within last 14 days - this captures both symptomatic or asymptomatic residents
  • Resident remains symptomatic - this ensures capture for those who remain symptomatic post 14 days
  • Resident numbers will be removed from the count once they become asymptomatic and pass the 14 day period from either onset of symptoms or date of test  - this will allow for both groups of symptomatic and asymptomatic.

If staff go on leave should they be tested before being allowed back into the work place?

Unless they are displaying symptoms they are ok to come back to work. If they were to develop symptoms or become aware they have been in close contact with a family member / friend who has developed symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus they should follow the national guidance and self-isolate for 14 days. If they have been abroad they will need to follow the government quarantine guidance and self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

If a home has already registered on the care home portal and completed the first round of whole care home testing when should it repeat this process and how do you get hold of more test kits?

We are waiting to hear back from DHSC regarding a decision on frequency of repeat testing, which we will share as soon as it has been confirmed. Discussions are currently taking place regarding the best way to order and obtain further swab kits, again we will share as soon as it has been confirmed.

Any homes who have swab kits left over can use these for any new symptomatic residents. Please follow the instruction in your guidance paperwork (P12) for adhoc courier request. This is an excerpt from that guidance:

  • 2. If you need to schedule a subsequent collection after the 3 scheduled collections, please complete the “ad hoc booking form” available from the care home guidance page at gov.uk/coronavirus and email this to COVIDCareHomeTesting@dhsc.gov.uk at least 48 hours in advance.
  • 3. You will receive an email confirmation from COVIDCareHomeTesting@dhsc.gov.uk to confirm your collection. Please do not start testing until your collection is confirmed."

Visiting outside clinical professionals, such as chiropodists. Is there any advice on whether visits can resume, and what additional measures we should put in place?

Updated National Care Home Guidance is to be published shortly that will include advice on visiting clinical professionals.

Do we have any indication / guidance when homes can open to allow visitors?

Updated National Care Home Guidance is to be published shortly that will include advice on visitors.

Where can I find further guidance on test trace in health and care settings?