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How to Respond to a COVID-19 Outbreak- England (Last update: 03.12.20)
Download our factsheet with guidance on how to respond to a COVID-19 Outbreak here:
Alternatively, you can see the guidance here:
A) How to Respond to a COVID-19 Outbreak
- Remember all National restrictions apply
- In a medical emergency call 999
B) What are COVID-19 Symptoms?
The most common are:
- A new continuous cough
- A high temperature
- A loss of, or change in taste or smell (anosmia)
and for frail older people
- A new onset of influenza-like illness or worsening shortness of breath
Remember: People with Dementia may not be able to tell you their symptoms and will need special observation – Use the RESTORE2 tools.
Record suspected or confirmed cases, end of suspected outbreak, end of confirmed outbreak in staff/residents on the eForms
C) What is an outbreak?
2 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 or suspected cases in people linked with the home, with onset within 14 days of each other.
D) What do we need to do if we suspect an outbreak?
- Home Manager: Contact the local Health Protection Team - they will advise on next steps and set up testing for all staff and residents if appropriate. The HPT will test again in 4-7 days for negative and missed tests.
Have the following information to hand:
- Type of home
- Care Inspectorate number for the home
- Onset date of first case
- Onset date of most recent case
- Symptoms of cases
- Total number of residents in the care home
- Total number of staff employed by the home
- Total number of residents with symptoms
- Total number of staff with symptoms
- Location of symptomatic cases with respect to layout of whole home
- Numbers of staff in clinical risk groups
- Any recent testing or results
- Any deaths or hospitalisations – Which hospital/when?
- Which GPs are the residents (symptomatic and non-symptomatic) registered with?
- Isolate residents with symptoms immediately for 14 days from the onset of symptoms - and - in single rooms with a bathroom where possible. With multiple cases you should try to isolate a wing or part of the building for cases. Try to allocate a group of staff to work solely with residents who are in isolation and another group of staff to work with those who are negative
- Contact GPs of individual confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases
- Immediately start full infection control measures and increase the frequency of monitoring residents
- Check any local policy and outbreak management arrangements
- Postpone routine, non-essential medical and other appointments, use of Near Me
- Stop visiting except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life. All visitors must wear a protective face covering, perform hand hygiene and keep their distance where possible
- Keep monitoring residents and ensure those who need to, are shielding
- 28 days after the last resident/member of staff tested positive or showed coronavirus-like symptoms, test all residents and staff again
- If no further cases are identified, the outbreak has ended
E) Staff during an outbreak
Staff who have COVID-19 symptoms:
- Staff with positive tests should self-isolate for 10 days
- They can only return to work when clinical symptoms have improved and they have had no fever for 48 hours following the period of isolation
- Staff who become symptomatic at work must immediately put on a surgical mask, notify their manager and go home to get tested by using the online portal. They must avoid using public transport
- If staff develop symptoms, they must notify their line manager immediately
F) Key facts in an outbreak
- Remember all national restrictions apply
- Two or more confirmed or clinically suspected cases with onset within 14 days and linked is an outbreak
- It is the Manager’s duty to alert the local Health Protection Team – they will advise on next steps
- Infection control frequency to be increased
- Isolate residents with positive COVID-19 or suspected cases for 14 days
- Restrict visiting to exceptional circumstances
- Staff with positive tests or those suspected of having COVID-19 or awaiting tests should isolate at home
- Record all cases on the eForms on the Care Inspectorate website
- Where the individual resident’s symptoms worsen, seek medical help
G) Good to know
- Notify the Care Inspectorate if coronavirus affects the day to day running of the business, using the ‘events that stop a service running safely and properly form’
- You must send your notifications online via eForms
H) PPE in an outbreak
- Disposable gloves - Single use to protect you from contact with residents’ body fluids and secretions
- Disposable plastic apron - Single use to protect you from contact with residents’ body fluids and secretions
- Fluid-repellent (Type IIR) surgical mask - To be worn continuously until breaks
I) Support in an outbreak
- Health Protection Team for your area
- 111 or resident GP if symptoms worsen
- 999 for medical emergencies
- Care Inspectorate for help and advice on regulatory concerns
- Your Local Authority
*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.