Coronavirus Updates

Latest updates on Coronavirus. As the situation is quickly evolving, it is important to be provided with up-to-date information. We’ll be updating and adding to our information. So keep checking back.

19th January 2022

Care staff can now end self-isolation on day 6

New guidance on self-isolation for people working in health or social care that have tested positive for COVID-19 has been released in England.

What has changed?

The advice on ending isolation for staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms or who have tested positive on a lateral flow device (LFD) test or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test has changed.

Staff can now end their isolation on the sixth day, provided they have 2 consecutive negative LFD tests.

The guidance for staff who are contacts of a case has not changed.

If a staff member receives a positive LFD or PCR test result

If a staff member receives a positive LFD or PCR test result, they must complete a period of self-isolation. The isolation period includes the day the symptoms started (or the day their test was taken if they do not have symptoms), also described as Day 0.

Staff members do not need to take a PCR test if they have already taken an LFD test and the result was positive, unless:

There is further detail in the stay at home guidance.

Staff may be able to end their self-isolation period before the end of 10 days.

They can take an LFD test from the fifth day of their isolation period, and another LFD test on the following day.

The second LFD test should be taken at least 24 hours later. If both LFD tests results are negative, they may end their self-isolation immediately after the second negative LFD test result and can return to work that same day provided they meet the criteria listed below.

They should not take an LFD test before the fifth day of their isolation period and should only end their self-isolation following 2 consecutive negative LFD tests which should be taken at least 24 hours apart.

After each LFD test, staff should report the test results on the GOV.UK website.

Staff may then return to work if they meet the following criteria:

  • The staff member’s symptoms have resolved, or their only symptoms are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks
  • If the staff member works with patients or residents who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 (as determined by the organisation), a risk assessment should be undertaken, and consideration given to redeployment for the remainder of the 10-day isolation period
  • The staff member should continue to undertake daily LFD tests for the remaining days of isolation period even if they have already returned to work. For example:
    • If the first LFD test result was negative on the fifth day, and the second LFD test result is negative on the sixth day, they can return to work but should continue to take LFD tests on days 7, 8, 9 and 10
    • If the first LFD test result was negative on the sixth day and the second LFD test result was negative on the seventh day, they can return to work but should continue to take LFD tests on days 8, 9 and 10
  • If any of these LFD test results are positive the staff member should isolate and should wait 24 hours before taking the next LFD test
  • On days the staff member is working, the LFD test should be taken prior to beginning their shift, as close as possible to the start time
  • The staff member must continue to comply with all relevant infection control precautions and PPE must be worn properly throughout the day

Further information

COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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