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COVID-19 Testing

Testing still remains a vital safety measure

Regular, twice weekly, Covid-19 testing (even if you don’t have symptoms) still remains a vital safety measure to help protect those around you from Covid-19.

In the Autumn and Winter Covid Plan, the rapid covid tests (lateral flow tests) will remain free and accessible from a variety of places including community testing sites, local pharmacies and online.

Nottingham has dedicated community testing sites, mobile testing units and pick up points to support people to carry out regular testing including:

  • Hyson Green Community Centre (open Tuesday to Saturday)
  • Bulwell Market Place (open Mondays)
  • Clifton Leisure Centre (open Thursdays)
  • Trinity Square (open Thursday, Friday and Sunday)
  • Nottingham City Libraries
  • Nottingham City Leisure Centres

It takes two minutes to take a free rapid Covid-19 test – a simple and quick swab from the back of the throat and nose. Results take only 30 minutes to show – these 30 minutes could protect your family and friends. Now we are beginning to experience normal life again, testing is still an important tool in our efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 and continue to protect each other.

Please remember, if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or have a positive rapid test, you must urgently take a PCR test – you can simply book a test by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119

Urgent: Expired Tests Will Be Voided

Why are we reminding you of this?

Expired test kits are being received by our labs; these aren’t valid and are automatically voided.

1. Check the box the tests were delivered in

The expiry date will be printed on a label affixed to the larger cardboard box that your tests are sent in.

2. Check the exterior plastic bag in each test kit

An expiry date may be printed on one of the plastic bags. Look out for the egg-timer symbol.

3. Check the vial

Expiry dates are added to some of the vials but not all. Look out for the egg-timer symbol.

How to get help and what to do if you think you have expired tests?

If you think you have been sent kits that have already expired please send an email with a photo attached of the expiry dates on the box, the packet and the vial to carehometesting@dhsc.gov.uk

Testing for All Adult Social Care Settings

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings

Page summary:

Outlines the COVID-19 testing available for testing staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care settings.

Details:

Testing for COVID-19 in adult social care (ASC) is crucial to help protect those who receive care and adult social care staff. Testing programmes identify people who may unknowingly have the virus, enabling those who test positive and their contacts to self-isolate and break the chain of transmission.

Testing is an important part of the approach to help protect those in adult social care services, alongside infection control measures and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Vaccination offers vital protection, but no vaccine is 100% effective, and importantly we do not yet know if being vaccinated prevents transmission of the disease. Therefore, testing and other infection control measures must continue to be used together to help keep care home residents, those who receive care and staff safe.

We are continuously reviewing our testing strategy for adult social care in light of the latest evidence and available testing.

Please see the following testing guidance for a range of specific adult social care settings:

Testing for Care Homes

20th May 2021: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in adult care homes - guidance updated

Page summary:
How to access test kits and step-by-step guides on how to use PCR and rapid lateral flow test kits for regular and outbreak testing of residents, staff and visiting professionals.

Change made:
Updated to reflect changes to end of outbreak testing and updated instructions on using the multiple upload spreadsheet, which can now be used to report both rapid lateral flow tests and PCR tests.


22nd April 21: Why does staff testing use both PCR and LFT?

The tests have different benefits and combining them on the same day gives the speed of Lateral Flow Tests and also the higher sensitivity of PCR tests. Using LFTs help to quickly identify some individuals who have lots of the virus in their body and are very infectious. LFTs will not identify everyone who is infected, but we know that speed is important for stopping the spread of the virus. LFTs can help to give an earlier warning of infection in the care home, rather than waiting for the PCR result to return from the lab, helping to contain the infection as quickly as possible. 

Since LFTs were introduced to care homes, over 21,000 positive cases in care homes have been found using rapid lateral flow tests, enabling action to be taken quickly to stop the spread and isolate the individual. 

The PCR tests find people who are infected but were not identified by the LFT, for example people who have lower amounts of the virus in their body because they may be at the start of the infection. Using the LFTs midweek and on the same day as the PCR is the best way to identify people who are infectious and the best way to use three tests in a week according to public health experts. The LFTs help to identify some people who have become infectious since the last PCR was taken and therefore taking one LFT on the same day as the PCR and one midweek is better than spreading the three tests out evenly through the week.


24th March 21: New Guidance Published for Testing in Adult Care Homes

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in adult care homes - How to access test kits and step-by-step guides on how to use PCR and rapid lateral flow test kits for regular and outbreak testing of residents and staff.


12th March 21: Testing for professionals visiting care homes

We have worked with care home providers, Dr Jenny Harries the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Public Health England and NHS E to develop this new guidance. The guidance strengthens the existing approach for testing professional visitors to care homes in order to reduce risks from visits from professionals.

 The full guidance can be found here.

The key changes are:

  • The default position is that without a negative test, the professional should not be allowed into the care home, (unless in an emergency, unless overridden by the care home manager following a risk based decision, or unless their entry is required by law such as CQC inspectors).
  • For NHS professionals, care homes should see evidence from the professional of a negative rapid lateral flow test within the last 72hrs, which shows they are following the NHS staff testing regime.
  • As per the previous guidance, professionals who are not part of regular testing for NHS staff or CQC inspectors (for example professionals such as podiatrists or engineers) will need to be tested at the care home in the same way as visitors.
  • If they are visiting multiple care homes in one day, they will now only need to be tested at the first care home they visit that day and can use evidence of this test at the next care home they visit that day.
  • CQC inspectors will now test at home using a lateral flow test on the day of a care home inspection, in addition to their weekly PCR.
  • Like care home staff, visiting professionals are exempt from testing for 90 days following a positive PCR test, unless they develop new symptoms.

The guidance provides further details and outlines the different forms of test evidence.

This guidance should be implemented as soon as possible but we also understand that professionals and their employers will need time to get to grips with practical issues, such as how they will provide evidence to care homes. Therefore this guidance should be implemented by care homes and professionals by 22nd March if not before.

Testing is, however, only one part of the approach to reduce risk and it is critical that visiting professionals don and doff PPE appropriately and follow the relevant infection control measures when visiting a care home including hand hygiene and distancing, in order to help keep care home residents and staff safe.


17th Feb 21: New guidance for care homes regarding not testing previously positive cases, even on LFDs

Immunocompetent staff, patients and residents who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR should be exempt from routine re-testing by PCR or LFD antigen tests (for example, repeated whole setting screening or screening prior to hospital discharge) within a period of 90 days from their initial illness onset or test (if asymptomatic) unless they develop new COVID-19 symptoms. The full guidance can be found through this link:

COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Please also see:


1st Feb 2021: Care Homes Testing Update

Please see the amended courier booking update for care home managers in England.

Important changes for you to be aware of:

  • You can now select a courier slot at a time that is most convenient for your organisation
  • When booking a courier you will have three collection slots to choose from

Read the full update here.


25th Jan 2021: Care home testing update: Lateral Flow Device (LFDs) approval for self-test granted

This announcement is for care homes in England only.

Following our communications on updated staff testing using Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests, we are pleased to inform you that we now have approval for care home staff to conduct self-test LFDs. This means your staff are now able to take and register their twice weekly LFD tests at home, before they arrive at the care home to start work.

Read the full update here.


18th Jan 2021: Care Homes LTF Information from DHSC

Please see below questions raised and answers for your information:- 

Not enough LFTs to support testing?

  • All care homes are receiving a second order of LFDs in January.  Every call to 119 requesting additional LFDs due to outbreak will be logged and actioned, they will receive extra kits.
  • If a home has an outbreak they always have to contact their local health protection team.  It is 119 they contact for additional LFD test kits due to outbreak.
  • When the call is placed to 119, they escalate to our escalations team who can place an urgent order which typically arrives the next day. Ringing 119 once means this request has been received and is being processed on our side, we ask that care homes only ring once.
  • Guidance to care homes is that they will receive an update on their case within 48 hours, however if these cases are urgent it will typically be processed same day.
  • Care homes will not receive a call back from the escalations team when the order is placed, but instead will receive an email from the escalations team confirming that an urgent order has been placed if required. 

Self-tests

  • We are still awaiting MHRA approval, please await further information on this.


31st Dec 2020: Department for Health and Social Care - Care Home Testing Update

Regular coronavirus testing update for care home managers in England

In this newsletter we announce a two week grace period for registering negative staff LFT tests (not this is only for staff LFT tests and only for negative results), and answer some of the frequently asked questions that we received in our webinars over the last few days.


23rd Dec 2020: Effectiveness of Lateral Flow Device Testing Published

There has been new evidence published on the effectiveness of Lateral Flow Device testing on Gov.uk 

The key message is that rapid turnaround LFTs are appropriate to use in care homes as an adjunct to risk reduction – they enable care homes to test frequently with results within 30 minutes, which is important in reducing risk. Testing will not eliminate risk and must be used in conjunction with PPE and IPC.

This should be considered alongside the guidance on COVID-19 lateral flow testing of visitors in care homes that sets out how care homes and visitors can prepare for visitor testing with LFDs.


21st December 20: Care Home COVID-19 Testing Guidance for testing of staff and residents

This guidance about polymerise chain reaction (PCR) and lateral flow device (LFD) testing for coronavirus is for all Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered adult care homes. It provides guidance for regular staff and resident testing using PCR and for testing of staff using LFD on their return from a period of leave. Further guidance about regular testing using LFD will follow shortly.


17th December 20: Testing for Care Home Residents and Staff

ICS Information Document about Testing for Care Home Residents and Staff


15th December 20: Department for Health and Social Care - Care Home Testing Update

Regular coronavirus testing update for care home managers in England

In this week’s update:

  • Important changes for you to be aware of:
  • Care home lateral flow devices (LFD) for visitor testing
  • the introduction of barcode scanners
  • testing over the festive

Important reminders:

  • sign up to our webinar series
  • FAQs for visitor testing with LFD kits
  • useful links

8th December 20: Coronavirus (COVID-19) lateral flow testing of visitors in care homes

Sets out how care homes and visitors can prepare for visitor testing with lateral flow devices (LFDs).


9th November 20: Department of Health and Social Care - Care Home Testing Update

Regular coronavirus testing update for care home managers in England.

In this week’s update:

  • Planning for testing over Christmas
  • New improvement: 119 Coronavirus Contact Centre for care homes
  • Final call: Return recalled Randox test kits
  • Reminder: Summary of useful links
  • Reminder: Sign up to attend our weekly testing webinars

9th September 20: Update on care homes testing

This document provides answers to some of the questions you may have in relation to testing in care homes for your residents and staff.

It covers:

  • Delivery of testing kits
  • Ordering testing kits
  • Weekend testing


Single Route for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Care Homes to Access Testing

For the attention of Care Home Managers and Shift Leaders in Nottingham or Nottinghamshire

For all queries regarding Care Home Swabbing and for access to Care Homes supported testing please use the Single Point of Contact as described below:

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Testing Coordination Centre:

  • Coordination Centre open 08:00 to 18:00 on 0300 300 3000, 7 days per week
  • Email alerts to nnccg.Covid19-testingcell@nhs.net monitored 08:00 to 20:00, 7 days per week

Criteria

There will be 2 situations when you can access supported testing;

  1. Care home with a suspected COVID-19 resident – rapid response
  2. Care home surveillance & support - scheduled visits on a rolling programme based upon prioritisation criteria

The prioritisation criteria for testing care homes is as follows;

  1. Care home with suspected COVID-19 infection,
  2. Care home with over 50 beds,
  3. Care home supporting dementia care,
  4. Care homes where local intelligence identifies there is likely to be significant additional value

For further information please read the letter and booklet, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Care Homes: Testing In Reach and Support Offer, from Public Health.

If you are a care home in Nottingham or Nottinghamshire, please use this route to access testing and not the care homes portal.

Lateral Flow Testing in Adult Social Care Settings and Testing for Professionals

Coronavirus (COVID-19) lateral flow testing in adult social care settings

Page summary:
Sets out how adult social care services can carry out rapid lateral flow tests on site.

Testing for professionals visiting care homes

We have worked with care home providers, Dr Jenny Harries the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Public Health England and NHS E to develop this new guidance. The guidance strengthens the existing approach for testing professional visitors to care homes in order to reduce risks from visits from professionals.

 The full guidance can be found here.

The key changes are:

  • The default position is that without a negative test, the professional should not be allowed into the care home, (unless in an emergency, unless overridden by the care home manager following a risk based decision, or unless their entry is required by law such as CQC inspectors).
  • For NHS professionals, care homes should see evidence from the professional of a negative rapid lateral flow test within the last 72hrs, which shows they are following the NHS staff testing regime.
  • As per the previous guidance, professionals who are not part of regular testing for NHS staff or CQC inspectors (for example professionals such as podiatrists or engineers) will need to be tested at the care home in the same way as visitors.
  • If they are visiting multiple care homes in one day, they will now only need to be tested at the first care home they visit that day and can use evidence of this test at the next care home they visit that day.
  • CQC inspectors will now test at home using a lateral flow test on the day of a care home inspection, in addition to their weekly PCR.
  • Like care home staff, visiting professionals are exempt from testing for 90 days following a positive PCR test, unless they develop new symptoms.

The guidance provides further details and outlines the different forms of test evidence.

This guidance should be implemented as soon as possible but we also understand that professionals and their employers will need time to get to grips with practical issues, such as how they will provide evidence to care homes. Therefore this guidance should be implemented by care homes and professionals by 22nd March if not before.

Testing is, however, only one part of the approach to reduce risk and it is critical that visiting professionals don and doff PPE appropriately and follow the relevant infection control measures when visiting a care home including hand hygiene and distancing, in order to help keep care home residents and staff safe.

Testing for Homecare Workers

14th May 21: Government Guidance Published on Testing for Homecare Workers - Information for Agencies

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for homecare workers: information for agencies - Sets out how homecare agencies in England can order regular tests for their homecare (domiciliary care) staff.


18th March 21: Government Guidance on Testing for Homecare Workers Updated

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for homecare workers - Sets out how homecare agencies in England can order regular tests for their homecare (domiciliary care) staff.


15th Dec 20: Department for Health and Social Care Homecare Testing Update

Please see attached a testing update for homecare agency managers which includes the following items -

  • Homecare testing progress
  • Testing over the festive period
  • Special webinar this Thursday: your chance to give feedback on testing
  • Reminder: instructions on registering and returning coronavirus tests
  • Test kit ordering system issue resolved
  • Additional email addresses for communications


20th Nov 20: Testing for homecare workers

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for homecare workers

Sets out how homecare agencies in England can order regular tests for their homecare (domiciliary care) staff.

Homecare workers to be tested weekly for COVID-19

Care workers looking after people in their own homes will be offered weekly coronavirus tests from Monday, the government has announced.


26th Oct 20: Domiciliary Care Priority Testing for Key Workers

Domiciliary care employers can register for the employer referral portal in order to get priority testing for key workers. The email address is portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk and you need to give them two email addresses for them to use to load key worker contact details.


Following the Government’s announcement of the expansion of testing for keyworkers there have been some changes to the current testing processes for keyworker staff. 

This is best used for keyworkers who are self-isolating who have symptoms of coronavirus and it is most effective when the member of staff is 3 days. 

There are now two ways by which keyworkers can be tested:

1.       Employer Referral – for testing at the Regional Test Centre 

Employers will have to register onto the Portal by emailing portalservicehelpdesk@dhsc.gov.uk

Instructions on the portal can be found on the link below.

The Employer will be responsible for referring workers for a test, but then it will be for the worker to arrange the appointment directly with the test centres.

Results are emailed to the employee directly.

We have some guidance notes on how to use the portal and some FAQs which we hope you will find useful, please see the links below.

If you have any queries about the employer referral process please email opshub@dhsc.gov.uk

2.       Employee Self-Referral – for testing at the Regional Test Centre or request a home testing kit.

Staff can access information on this weblink or https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested and book a test here: 

https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/

We also have attached some guidance for employees if they wish to share with your staff, see links below.

Employees can contact helpline if they have any questions on 0300 303 2713.

Please find:

Testing for Extra Care and Supported Living Settings

26th May 2021: Coronavirus testing update for Extra Care Housing and Supported Living managers – Important Updates

Surge Testing due to variants of concern

If your setting is based in an area identified as having high prevalence of a variant of concern (VOC); you may be asked to take part in surge testing. If you have any questions, please contact your local HPT for further advice about taking part in surge testing.

 

It is important that testing in your setting is continued, including both PCR testing and LFTs, to protect your settings and so we can continue to monitor for any current or new VOCs.

 

Visitor self-testing

Visitors to Extra Care and Supported Living settings can now conduct a rapid lateral flow self-test at home, at the discretion of setting managers. Testing on site remains the preference for assurance reasons. Visitors must report all tests online at: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result and using the Unique Organisation Number (UON) of your setting. Housing or Support managers should ensure visitors are aware of the setting’s UON.

 

You can read the updated policy on visiting and testing in Extra Care and Supported Living settings at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supported-living-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living

 

Care Home, Extra Care and Supported Living Residents visiting day care centres

Day care centres now have a similar testing regime to care homes and some extra care and supported living settings of weekly PCR and twice weekly LFT for staff. In addition, where possible, service users are being asked to conduct twice weekly LFT.

 

Currently, care home residents and some extra care and supported living residents conduct monthly PCR testing as part of their regular testing regime.

Where service users are part of regular monthly PCR testing and have taken a PCR test in the same week as their visit to a day care centre and received their result, they do not need to also do rapid LFTs that week. They should continue doing regular LFTs if visiting the day care centre on all other weeks.

Reporting LFT Results to Managers

 

We are aware that reporting of Lateral Flow Test results to managers can be time consuming, we are working on a digital solution to this. Whilst this is in progress; we are happy to be able to support an alternative way to have results sent to a management email address. Please follow the steps below:

  1. Enter your details as normal.
  2. At the final step when you are asked to verify the information you have input; you are able to edit the email address section to include a management email address.
  3. Enter alternative email address. This should contain some detail which identifies the address as an administrative account e.g. admin@supportedliving.com or manager@extracare.com

Submit your registration. Results will be registered and a record of the registration will be sent to the contact details entered.


Why Dual Testing is used in Extra Care and Supported Living settings

Both Rapid Lateral Flow Tests and PCR tests deliver different benefits and conducting them on the same day combines the speed of Lateral Flow Tests with the higher sensitivity of PCR tests. Using LFTs help to quickly identify some individuals who have a high volume of the virus in their body and are therefore infectious. LFTs will not identify everyone who is infected, but we know that speed is important for stopping the spread of the virus. LFTs can help to give an earlier warning of infection in the setting, rather than waiting for the PCR result to return from the lab. This helps to contain the infection as quickly as possible.

 

The PCR tests find people who are infected but were not identified by the LFT, for example people who have lower amounts of the virus in their body because they may be at the start of the infection. Using the LFTs midweek and on the same day as the PCR is the best way to identify people who are infectious.


Universal testing offer

We appreciate that as a way of safeguarding staff at EC/SL settings it is useful to ensure that families of staff members are testing regularly. We support and encourage this; please note that the universal offer can be used for this type of asymptomatic testing. Ordering from the universal offer portal can be done by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

If any family member or staff member develops COVID-19 symptoms, they should get a symptomatic PCR test here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

 

Using the self-referral portal

If you believe you have a setting which is eligible for testing via the Extra Care and Supported Living route; please use the self-referral portal ( https://request-onboarding.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/) and completing the following steps:

  • Input the ‘DHSC Referrer Unique Organisation Number’ – which is 99874802. You will only need to use this code once, this UON cannot be used to order test kits

 

  • Complete the eligibility questions

 

  • Enter the contact information for the setting, including delivery address and contact details

 

  • Submit referral

All referrals are processed weekly and sent to Local Authority for approval and categorisation. Once we have received this confirmation the account request will be approved and a confirmation email will be sent containing a UON.

 

Invitation to Vaccination Webinar

Thank you to everyone in social care for the continued dedication and response to the coronavirus pandemic. This is reminder of the below invitation.

 

The Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, would like to invite you to this webinar on vaccination in social care, to thank you personally and the social care sector workforce which has responded fantastically to the enormous challenge of caring during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

In conversation with some of the leading figures in our vaccine programme rollout, we are going to be talking about the importance of getting as many social care workers vaccinated as possible and what that means for all of us on the transmission of coronavirus. We’ll hear from two of the country’s leading clinical experts, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, and Dr Nikita Kanani, who will be answering any concerns on getting the vaccine that you or your colleagues may have.

 

I hope you and your colleagues can make the time to join us online at 11am on Friday 21st May via https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_NWJlNDFjMGUtMGJkMC00NjIxLTgzMzYtMmMyYmIxNDI4MjQ3%40thread.v2/0context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%2261278c30-91a8-4c31-8c1f-ef4de8973a1c%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22a9513ba7-6ef8-4f70-ab0d-7d6da12cdaf7%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a


28th April 2021: testing update for Extra Care Housing and Supported Living managers in England

Includes:

  • Visitor self-testing
  • Changes to our privacy notice
  • Important reminders
  • The importance of dual testing for staff
  • Rapid lateral flow tests – moving from boxes of 25 to 7
  • Using the Self-Referral Portal
  • Weekly webinars


1st April 2021: Extra Care and Supported Living testing update: Rapid Lateral Flow Testing available to support visits in and out of settings from 30th March 2021

This announcement is for Extra Care and Supported Living settings in England only.

We are pleased to announce that from 30th March, visits in and out of extra care and supported living settings can now be supported by rapid lateral flow testing. Both ‘high risk’ and ‘wider’ settings (as defined by the extra care and supported living testing risk-based criteria) will be able to order rapid lateral flow tests for this purpose.

Testing is one tool that can be used to help mitigate the risks to identify asymptomatic visitors who are likely to be infectious before they visit so they are able to self-isolate immediately.


18th Jan 2021: COVID-19 Testing – self-registering on to the Portal Extra Care and Supported Living Settings

People in extra care and supported living settings should now be able to access COVID-19 testing through a self-service portal. In order to be eligible for testing an Extra Care and Supported Living settings must meet both of the following criteria: 

  • a closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people
  • where most residents receive the kind of personal care that is CQC regulated (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping) 

The link below contains a section called Self-referral portal section has all the relevant instructions about how to register your organisation: 

The full guidance is available on the gov.uk website - guidance on testing service for extra care and supported living settings which will support you in planning and implementing Covid19 testing within your setting. 

Please contact the following email address nnccg.nottsincidents@nhs.net if you have any queries around this.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing service for extra care and supported living settings

Guidance on regular retesting for extra care and supported living settings that meet the eligibility criteria.

Department of Health and Social Care Communication about the guidance above (Dec 20):

We are pleased to announce that from the 9 December 2020, eligible Extra Care and Supported Living settings will be able to place orders to regularly test their residents and staff. This will involve weekly testing for staff and monthly testing for residents.

We are rolling out regular testing for staff and residents commencing 9th December 2020 to Extra Care and Supported Living settings that meet the following critieria:

  • a closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people, and
  • where most residents receive the kind of personal care that is CQC regulated (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping)

Staff should be tested on a weekly basis and residents should be tested every 28 days.

Orders should be placed every 28 days from here.

Self Referral Portal

In addition, we have heard the concerns of providers that are eligible but have been unable to access testing so far and therefore we are pleased to be launching a self-referral portal for eligible settings to refer themselves if they do not currently have access.

In order to ensure providers are eligible, we are asking DsPH to nominate a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to approve any referrals within 7 working days. Your regional coordinator will be in touch to ask for your designated SPOC shortly.

A full overview of the process for providers is set out below for your information:

  • providers can navigate to https://request-onboarding.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/
  • providers will need to enter the referral UON of 99874802 and provide details of their settings. They will only need to use this code once, this UON cannot be used to order test kits.
  • DHSC will send these referrals to nominated LA SPOCs by email to accept or reject these requests within 7 working days of receiving them
  • the requests will be sent in the format of an excel table with the details of the setting and an accept or reject column for each setting
  • eligible settings will then be onboarded.

To read the communication in full please click here.

Testing for Adult Day Centres and Service Users

30th April 2021: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult day care centre workers and service users

Page summary:
Sets out how eligible adult day care centres in England can order, test and register regular PCR and lateral flow tests for all staff and service users.

Change made:
Updated to reflect that rapid lateral flow tests are now available to adult day care centre workers and service users.


17th March 2021: DHSC Testing for Adult Day Centres Update

Please click here for an update from the Department of Health and Social Care regarding testing for adult day centres.

Includes:

  • PCR staff testing overview
  • How can adult day centres get access to testing via our self-referral portal?
  • LAs receiving referrals
  • Sign up to regular day centre testing webinars
  • Further support and guidance
  • Rapid lateral flow testing pilot


18th Feb 2021: Testing for Adult Day Centre Workers

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult day care centre workers

Page summary:
Sets out how open day care centres providing essential care in England can order weekly PCR testing for their staff.


12th Feb 2021:

Further to the updated SCIE reopening day centre guidance, Delivering safe adult day care, DHSC have subsequently issued a poster on testing in day centres.

Staff who work with day centres can sign-up for a webinar about testing eligibility. These are on Monday Feb 15 and Monday Feb 22 at 11am.


3rd Feb 2021:


On Monday 1st February, DHSC will announce the introduction of Covid testing in day centres

All staff will be required to take weekly PCR tests. PPR requirements are also tighteneing. LAs will be required to share this information with relevant providers and then approve their self-registration for testing kits through DHSC.

Day centres will be defined as services run by paid care staff that are deemed to be critical to be open by Local Authorities during lockdown for adults over 18 provided within non-residential care settings that support the health and wellbeing of adults. This includes settings such as:

  • purpose-built day centres
  • day centres attached to or part of a care home or supported living
  • other buildings in communities specifically used for regular adult day care

Updated SCIE Guidance will also be shared on Monday, which will bring PPE requirements for day care centres up to the level currently specified for dom care.

There will be an initial webinar for providers and LA colleagues on Monday 1st Feb  2-3 pm, repeated Wednesday 3rd Feb 4-5pm and again Monday 8th Feb 11-12noon, the link for booking these is below:

 https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1424641&tp_key=4ffe2901d3

Testing for Personal Assistants

Update 10th April 2021 to testing for personal assistants guidance

Change madeUpdated to reflect the policy change for personal assistants to conduct 2 LFTs a week and not to test with PCR unless to use for a confirmatory PCR following a positive LFT.

Please also see Covid Testing Record information at the bottom of this web page.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for personal assistants

How personal assistants working in adult social care in England can access weekly COVID-19 testing.

For testing purposes, a personal assistant is someone who is directly employed by an individual (or self-employed) to provide care and support to enable them to live as independently as possible. This care could include support in the home, or to go out into the community. All personal assistants who provide care that requires them to come within 2 metres of the person they support and who support adults over the age of 18 are eligible for testing.

Please see below for further information:

Testing for Hospices

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for hospices

Sets out how hospices can access COVID-19 testing for staff and patients on-site, for staff visiting patients in their own homes, and for visitors to hospices.

Testing for the Public

You can have a swab test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) now.

You can choose to take the test:

  • at a test site near you today and get your result tomorrow
  • with a home test kit

Who can get a test

You can get a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have symptoms
  • if you live in England and have been told to have a test before you go into hospital, for example, for surgery

This service is for people of all ages in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Please visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test to find out more information.

Community and Asymptomatic Testing

Community Testing

  • Community testing explainer - Community asymptomatic testing helps identify and isolate individuals who have coronavirus (COVID-19) but do not have symptoms.

Asymptomatic Testing

  • Even if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, tests are still available for you.
  • There are three Asymptomatic Testing Centres across Nottingham; Djanolgy Leisure Centre on Gregory Boulevard in Forest Fields, Clifton Community Centre on Southchurch Drive in Clifton, The Portland Centre on Muskham Street in The Meadows 
  • Understanding Lateral Flow antigen testing for people without symptoms - An explanation of the technology behind asymptomatic testing and the role these tests play in the national COVID-19 testing programme

To find out more please visit Nottingham City Council's website - Local Asymptomatic Testing for people with no symptoms of coronavirus

Information about the National Care Homes Portal

Update 8th October 2020

PRESENTATIONS AND GUIDANCE – End to End testing process and Frequently Asked Questions

Please see the presentations below to support the testing process:

To clarify the action to be taken in respect of collection of test kits:

“All couriers should be booked at least a day in advance (before 7pm) at www.testkitcollect.co.uk, if a courier doesn’t arrive the care home should call 119 the next morning. It’s very important that when calling 119 they identify as a care home, this is by (after selecting language, country and data preferences) selecting 1 “calling about a test” then 3 “calling from a care facility”. The 119 team can then book an urgent courier to collect the test kits.

If a home has issues with 119 its usually because they haven’t arrived at the care home team (following the dial instructions above).

I know this is a really annoying piece of advice, but if they don’t get the answer they want I would advise calling 119 again, making sure that you are talking to the care home team, and asking again for an urgent courier.

Do not discard test kits.  We still ask care homes to send tests back to us the same day, but if a test kit is more than 48 hours old we are still able to extract a result from it”.

Government launches new national portal for care homes to arrange coronavirus testing

We are advising that Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Care Homes use the local single point of contact for testing as described in the section above.

Information about NHS Test and Trace

Antibody Testing

Antibody Testing Update - 6th October 2020

The Government have launched a new at-home antibody testing service which is now available to all staff in the adult social care sector in England. This service has been designed to support surveillance studies that will help us understand COVID-19 and how it has spread. For further information please see the communication from the Government below:

Roll-out of the service 

This new at-home antibody testing service launched in the middle of September. So far, we have contacted care homes and care providers in four regions of the England (the North East, North West, South West, Yorkshire and Humber) informing them about the service and asking them to invite their staff to register. From today (Friday 2nd October), we will begin communications to care homes in all regions across England.  

We are making it clear to care homes that this testing is separate from weekly swab retesting and outbreak testing by PHE and local HPTs, and that swab retesting of all staff and residents in care homes continues as a priority, even if individuals receive a positive antibody test result.

We continue to reinforce that if care homes are currently facing an outbreak or suspected outbreak, they should contact their local HPT. When offering advice regarding outbreaks and antibody testing, we are informing care homes they should wait 3 weeks after a local outbreak before recommending that their staff take an antibody test.

We are confident that this testing service will not impact current work with HPTs on local outbreaks.

For further information about this service, please contact 119.

Background to antibody testing

Care homes are being provided with the information below about antibody testing and how they can access tests.

What is an antibody test? 

Antibody tests are used to detect antibodies to the COVID-19 virus to see if someone has previously had the virus. Our understanding of the body’s immune response to the virus is limited, and we do not currently know how long an antibody response lasts, whether a person can be re-infected, nor whether having antibodies means a person cannot transmit the virus to others.

An antibody test result can only tell an individual whether or not they have had the virus in the past and developed antibodies. Therefore, regardless of the result of an antibody test, individuals must continue to comply with government guidelines, including wearing PPE and social distancing. 

How do these tests differ from regular COVID-19 swab tests?  

Antibody tests do not replace the regular COVID-19 swab tests used to determine if people currently have the virus. Swab tests tell someone if they currently have COVID-19, whereas antibody tests tell someone if they have previously had COVID-19 and have developed antibodies. 

How can staff in adult social care access an antibody test? 

Antibody testing is already being provided through the NHS for staff in adult social care. The new at-home antibody test provides an additional route to access an antibody test, giving greater flexibility and choice. Staff should only take one version of the test.   

To sign up for an at-home antibody test, staff will need to register on the online portal here: 

https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-antibody-test 

NHS and Government Guidance

The guidance on antibody testing is being updated regularly and so the NHS and PHE websites are the best place to find the most up to date information. Please click on the links below to find out more:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/antibody-test-to-check-if-youve-had-coronavirus/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-antibody-tests

Government Guidance on Testing and Getting Tested


Joint statement from DHSC and CQC

"Under no circumstances should care staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether they are displaying symptoms or not, work in a care setting until the legally required period of self-isolation has ended. 

The national guidance is clear on this and applies equally to other periods of required isolation, for example being a household contact and quarantine periods associated with overseas travel. 

Where the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has concerns, it will take swift regulatory action. It will make the relevant adult safeguarding referral to be dealt with by the local authority (LA) under section 42 of the Care Act. 

Where providers are facing critical staffing shortages, local system partners should work together, in discussions with local provider associations, to make sure they maintain continuity of care for their service users. These partners include LAs, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), wider NHS services, Public Health England (PHE) health protection teams and local resilience forums. This is to make sure the health and social care system works in the best interests of all. 

We recognise the pressures and workforce challenges across social care and if the local system has come together and all options have been explored and discounted, this must be escalated within the LA and NHS. The LA should also notify the relevant Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) regional lead. Directors of Public Health and Directors of Adult Social Services must be involved to make sure the issue is resolved."

Covid Testing Record

The Covid Testing Record is a booklet designed as a hardcopy or electronic version to record Covid results after undertaking LFD and PCR tests. It can be used across a variety of workforces within Health and Social Care settings to include Personal Care Assistants.

It is the personal record of the individual concerned. Whilst the use of the record is not mandatory, to encourage and demonstrate good working practice and compliance with the Covid -19 Home test guide and Covid -19  self-testing step by step guidance, we advise that the Covid Testing Record is used. 

The electronic interactive version is available for download for print or use on Smartphone via by clicking the link below. You can also access a document which details all of the LFT sites where you can pick up a paper copy of the Covid Testing Record:

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