How to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak - Wales (Last update: 04.12.20) | QCS

How to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak – Wales (Last update: 04.12.20)

Dementia Care
December 4, 2020

Download our factsheet with guidance on how to respond to a COVID-19 Outbreak in Wales 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 elderly

  • 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 in staff/individuals daily on the Capacity Tool.

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? 

  1. Home Manager: Contact Public Health Wales – they will advise on next steps and set up testing for all staff and individuals if appropriate.

Have the following information to hand:

  • Type of home
  • CIW number for the home
  • Onset date of first case
  • Onset date of most recent case
  • Symptoms of cases
  • Total number of individuals in the care home
  • Total number of staff employed by the home
  • Total number of individuals 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 and any results
  • Any deaths or hospitalisations – Which hospital/when?
  • Which GPs are the individuals (symptomatic and non-symptomatic) registered with?
  1. Isolate individuals 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 individuals who are in isolation and another group of staff to work with those who are negative
  2. Contact the GPs of individual confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases
  3. Immediately start full infection control measures and increase the frequency of monitoring individuals
  4. Check any local policy and outbreak management arrangements
  5. Postpone routine, non-essential medical and other appointments
  6. Do not take any new admissions to the home during the outbreak
  7. 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
  8. Reduce contact between individuals by reducing or stopping the use of communal facilities
  9. Keep monitoring your individuals and ensure that those who need to, are shielding
  10. 28 days after the last individual/member of staff tested positive or showed coronavirus-like symptoms, test all individuals and staff again
  11. If no further cases are identified, the outbreak has stopped and Public Health Wales or the local Environmental Health Team will advise it 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 or dialling 111. 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 Public Health Wales – they will advise on next steps
  • Infection control frequency to be increased
  • Isolate individuals 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 Capacity Tool
  • Where symptoms worsen for an individual, seek medical help

G) Good to know

  • You must notify CIW of confirmed cases of coronavirus in people using the service or staff
  • The infectious disease notification form should be used and sent via the CIW online portal
  • The death of an individual notification form has been updated to include coronavirus where this is the cause of death

H) PPE in an outbreak

  • Disposable gloves – Single use to protect you from contact with individuals’ body fluids and secretions
  • Disposable plastic apron – Single use to protect you from contact with individuals’ body fluids and secretions
  • Fluid-repellent (Type IIR) surgical mask – To be worn continuously until breaks

I) Support in an outbreak

  • Public Health Wales on 0300 00 300 32
  • Local Environment Health Team for your area
  • 111 or individual’s GP if symptoms worsen
  • 999 for medical emergencies
  • Care Inspectorate Wales for help and advice on regulatory concerns
  • Your Local Authority or Local Resilience Forum
  • Primary Care Network will have a nominated Clinical Lead for each care home