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COVID-19 Testing

Testing for keyworkers

Please see below for information on testing from Government and Nottingham City Council.

Testing for keyworkers

Testing for Care Homes

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.

Testing for Other Key Workers, such as Homecare Providers, and Home Testing

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 the Public: Get a free NHS test today to check if you have coronavirus

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
  • if you live in Leicester, Luton, Pendle, or Blackburn with Darwen local councils, where there are coronavirus outbreaks

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.

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

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