Updated 6 May 2021

Guidance for patients who are identified as a contact of a positive COVID-19 case in inpatient settings

A new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Guidance for patients identified as a contact of a positive COVID-19 case, provides updated information on the management of inpatients if they are identified as a contact.

Inpatients no longer need to isolate if they remain asymptomatic. They will be asked to PCR test twice weekly for 10 days and masks should be encouraged. New admissions will need to be informed that there are positive contacts on the ward. Advise the use of a face mask in communal areas and limit contact with those patients determined as contacts. Please see the SOP for further guidance.

Asymptomatic routine testing in inpatient settings

NHSE advice states that inpatient asymptomatic testing will end; this will not include wards in outbreak or singles cases.

Staff testing on outbreak wards

Advice states that staff no longer need a PCR test but should continue with daily lateral flow testing in an outbreak area - or twice weekly as is routine.

Guidance for patients commencing Section 17 leave or returning from being absent without leave (AWOL)

Patients who are taking section 17 leave just for the day do not need to be tested or isolate on return. Patients taking overnight leave should take a lateral flow test on days 1, 3, and 5 to 7 and isolation is not required (unless they are positive).

In addition, if a patient is taking section 17 leave overnight and is classed as a COVID-19 contact, they must have a negative lateral flow test on the day of leave or a negative PCR test within 24 hours of leave. General advice within the SOP should also be followed.

Patients returning from a period of being absent without leave (AWOL) should be offered a lateral flow test on days 1, 3, and 5 to 7. Isolation is not required unless a positive result is returned.

For further information please follow this link to the SOP.

Guidance for patients undergoing planned elective day care procedures

Patients attending the Trust for elective procedures who are fully vaccinated no longer need to have a test before attending.

Patients who are not fully vaccinated will need to have a negative lateral flow test 72 hours before they attend. They should be advised to access this via the Government portal or call 119 to order a test.

Arrangements should be made for those patients unable to test at home to have a lateral flow test in the department on the day of their procedure.

For detailed advice regarding these processes please follow the link to the SOP.

Guidance for stepping down isolation following infection with COVID-19

This SOP provides updated guidance on the reduction of the 10 day isolation period for  COVID-19 positive cases if specific criteria is met. Patients can be tested using lateral flow tests at day 6 of their isolation period (staff are currently day 5) and require a negative test, and days 6 and 7 prior to discontinuation of isolation, provided certain criteria are met. Please see the SOP for further guidance.

Return to work following contact with COVID – UPDATED LINK

Any staff who become symptomatic or test COVID-19 positive, should now follow the revised SOP: Staff to return to work following contact with COVID.

Management of staff following positive test or respiratory symptoms

This SOP represents more significant changes and is now more detailed to include management of staff who have other respiratory infections as well as Covid-19.

The symptoms list has been extended to reflect this and now includes 9 symptoms below;

Symptoms of COVID-19, flu and common respiratory infections include:

  • continuous cough
  • high temperature, fever or chills
  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
  • shortness of breath
  • unexplained tiredness, lack of energy
  • muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
  • not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry
  • headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
  • sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick

Staff cases within the scope of this SOP will now need to have 1 or more of the above symptoms BUT ALSO display a high temperature or are feeling unwell.

Staff will no longer need a PCR test, and instead can test using LFD. Those who test positive will be asked to continue to follow previous advice/SOP and commence LFD testing after an initial period of 5 days has elapsed and can return to work following 2 consecutive negative results if returning to work within the initial 10 day period from testing positive.

More detailed guidance must also be followed and can be found within this SOP: Management staff to return to work following a positive covid test or respiratory symptoms

This updated guidance also now includes advice for those staff who have symptoms, but are testing LFD negative.