E: support@e-carehub.co.uk

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D321. Coronavirus (Covid-19) Test and Trace: Contingency Planning

Policy Statement

This policy sets out the actions to be taken by {{org_field_name}} in the event of a staff member receiving an NHS/Public Health England test and trace alert and who has been identified as a contact of someone who has independently tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. It is written in line with government guidance Covid-19: Management of Staff and Exposed Patients or Residents in Health and Social Care Settings (updated 17 January 2022).

The implications for {{org_field_name}} of having an employee notified of being a contact are potentially wide-ranging, affecting the smooth running of {{org_field_name}} and the wellbeing of its service users. Hence the recognition that it must be prepared for such eventualities in line with the current government guidance.

{{org_field_name}} accepts the emphasis of the guidance that all employers must play their part in preventing and controlling the spread of infection by:

{{org_field_name}} already applies all public health infection control guidance to make the care setting as safe as possible with, for example:

{{org_field_name}} also recognises that it also must have policies and plans in place to ensure the continuation of {{org_field_name}} and that service users’ needs are fully addressed, and to protect and support other staff, including any who might also be contacts of any colleague identified from test and trace.

Test and Trace

{{org_field_name}} recognises that the NHS test and trace service and app:

This policy aims at preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19 and helping to protect other people from being infected.

Procedures

In the event of a staff member being alerted that they are a contact of someone who has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the following should apply.
• A staff member who has been notified that they are a contact of a Covid-19 case is not required to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated.
• However, the staff member should notify their service management if they are expected to work in the 10 days following their last contact with a Covid-19 case.
• If the staff member develops symptoms during this 10-day period, they should follow the government’s stay at home advice, ie:

  1. have a PCR test through their workplace arrangements or the NHS Test and Trace service as soon as possible
  2. if off-duty, do not attend work while waiting for the test result
  3. if at work, return home as soon as possible
  4. if they have already taken a LFD test with a positive result, they must complete a period of self-isolation, taking an LFD test from the fifth day; a negative result on two successive days allows them to return to work before the 10-day period is up under specified mitigating conditions:
    i. LFD test results should be reported to the government website
    ii. primary symptoms such as fever have resolved leaving only residual symptoms if any such as cough and loss of smell
    iii. {{org_field_name}} carries out a risk assessment to ensure the person is safe to work in a face-to-face role (with potentially vulnerable service users)
    iv. the person continues to take daily LFD tests for days 7–10 as close as possible to starting work but at 24-hour intervals
    v. a further positive test result requires a return to self-isolation
    vi. the person must follow all IPC procedures particularly the correct wearing of PPE
    vii. after 10 days and a positive test result (considered less likely), at that point the person should return to self-isolation but can resume work after a single negative test result
    viii. in the unlikely event of a positive test result on day 14 the person can return to work on day 15 subject to a further risk assessment.

• If the staff member is having to self-isolate, particularly for the full period, the manager should:

  1. come to an agreement with the person who needs to isolate regarding their employment conditions, eg to receive statutory sick pay, take paid holiday or carry out paid work that can be done at home for this period
  2. also come to an agreement with the person on how best it can support them during this period and ask to be kept informed of their progress on a “need to know” basis as this information is relevant to any continuity or contingency plans, which {{org_field_name}} must make
  3. on receipt of the information that a staff member has been required to self-isolate, carry out immediately an assessment, involving internal tracing, of the recent close and less close contacts that person has had in the work setting to identify the risks of potential infection spread to service users and to other staff (which might also be related to NHS app notifications)
  4. put into effect {{org_field_name}}’s business continuity plans to obtain the required staff cover using all external support available.

• The outcome of this risk assessment will decide the further actions, which could include:

  1. arranging for all or at-risk staff and service users to be tested (as well as the identified contact), which can use {{org_field_name}}’s own supply of testing kits and following its usual testing procedures
  2. ensuring staff who might be a higher infection risk (because of their contact with the test and trace identified contact) being removed from contact with anyone (service user or staff) regarded as being in the “vulnerable” category for the more severe forms of Covid-19 (and if necessary asked to self-isolate)
  3. close monitoring of all signs and symptoms of Covid-19, particularly those who have had recent contact with the test and trace identified contact
  4. the increased use of PPE as appropriate to the care setting.

If there is any evidence from these procedures that there is an outbreak of Covid-19 (as defined under infection control regulations) {{org_field_name}} will take all actions, including notifications to public health authorities, etc that are statutorily required of it to control the disease.
If there is no evidence that the identified contact person is infected with Covid-19 (from testing or completion of the self-isolation period) and/or of any spillover to others in the care setting, {{org_field_name}} will revert to its default coronavirus management procedures.

Training

All staff will be made aware of these continuity/contingency plans associated with the test and trace programme.


Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

Next review date: this policy is reviewed annually (every 12 months). When needed, this policy is also updated in response to changes in legislation, regulation, best practices, or organisational changes.

Copyright ©2024 {{org_field_name}}. All rights reserved

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