Do staff need to go home and isolate if they have contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19?

Healthcare Workers who come into contact with a COVID-19 patient whether they were wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) or not, can remain at work. This is because in most instances this will be a short-lived exposure, unlike exposure in a household setting that is ongoing.

However, if a HCW develops a new, continuous cough or a fever they should stay at home in accordance with the Stay at Home guidance. If they develop these symptoms while at work, they need to self-isolate and immediately inform their line manager. 

Read more on government guidance on staying at home.  

Do we need to keep testing all new cases at the Care Home?

If you have already been informed that you have a confirmed case at your Care Home then there is no need to swab any other residents and all residents and staff with symptoms should be considered possible COVID-19 cases and isolated accordingly. Once PHE has arranged swabbing at the home, there is no need to swab any further residents or let us know about new cases. PHE will inform you of any positive results, SECAmb will let you know about negative results.

What PPE should staff be wearing?

Healthcare workers within one metre of a patient with possible or confirmed COVID-19 in care homes should be wearing:  

  • fluid repellent facemask  
  • apron  
  • gloves  
  • eye protection

if there is a risk of splashing or exposure to respiratory droplets.   

Any healthcare workers delivering or assisting with an aerosol generating procedure require

  • FFP3 respirator
  • long sleeved disposable gown
  • gloves
  • eye protection (disposable goggles or full-face visor)

We still have difficulties in accessing PPE, what can we do?

We are aware that some of the usual suppliers of PPE to care homes have received stock so please check with your usual supplier.

If you still cannot access sufficient PPE then please contact the National Supply Disruption line:

If we are accepting residents with Confirmed COVID-19 back into the home from hospital do they need a negative swab before we accept them

Patients being discharged from hospital into a care home or other setting, do not require a negative swab for COVID-19 and will not routinely be swabbed on discharge. Please liaise with the hospital team with regard to their discharge and any infection control measures that are required. Depending on when their symptoms started, they may need to be isolated in their room until the full 7 days from onset of symptoms is up. Appropriate PPE should be provided for staff if this is the case.