UK Health Security Agency guidance on exemption from self-isolation has been reviewed and updated.
In the 14 days following a second dose of an MHRA approved vaccine, healthcare workers who are are asymptomatic and have a negative PCR test following a contact with someone with Covid-19 can return to work. To mitigate risk of nosocomial spread, staff must:
- engage in daily lateral flow testing for 10 days
- continue rigorous application of infection prevention and control (IPC) principles
- keep a low threshold to isolate
- repeat PCR testing at any onset of symptoms.
Staff should avoid contact with clinically extremely vulnerable patients during this period.
Where staff are at higher risk of transmitting Covid-19 due to being a household contact or not yet having had a booster vaccination, practices may wish to consider options for remote working to minimise risk of practice outbreaks.
Due to the current prevalence of Covid-19 in London, and our knowledge of Omicron’s increased transmissibility, organisations should all review and tighten their IPC processes.
- ideally, face coverings should always be worn by members of staff where two-metre social distancing cannot be guaranteed, unless in a room on one’s own
- staff should maintain social distance when wearing face coverings
- staff should be encouraged not to mingle in communal areas and workstations should be kept as far apart as possible
- everybody needs to be rigorous in hand hygiene and frequent cleaning of touch points
- windows should be opened to allow good ventilation of spaces.
It is important to keep a low threshold for PCR testing where anyone develops symptoms of Covid-19. All staff should be testing twice weekly if asymptomatic using lateral flow devices and all results need to be uploaded on the government website.
Adhering to the guidance gives everybody the best chance of keeping themselves, colleagues, and patients safe during this challenging time.
Covid-19: Management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings
Covid-19: Infection prevention and control
Report a Covid-19 rapid lateral flow test result