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COVID Testing for Staff

December 2023

Most staff, patient facing and non-patient facing, are NO LONGER required to test themselves for COVID-19 when they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or influenza. Staff should not come to work if they are feeling unwell with symptoms such as fever (temperature greater than 37.8 degrees C), persistent cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches. Staff may return to work as soon as they feel well enough and once fever free for 48 hours.

Any staff who have mild symptoms, similar to a mild cold, but feel well enough to work can do so but must apply good cough etiquette and hand hygiene. As staff are not testing they are strongly encouraged to wear a fluid resistant surgical face mask until symptoms are resolved to protect both patients and colleagues.

Only staff who have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection that work in areas predominantly caring for severely immunosuppressed patients, e.g. haematology/oncology, will be required to undertake a LFD test for COVID-19. Please request test kits from your ward manager who can order these kits through the normal ward ordering mechanism for clinical kits.

Staff who test positive for COVID-19 should stay away from work for 5 days (day 0 is the onset of symptoms). Staff should only return when they are feeling well enough and have been fever free for 48 hours.

All staff who have a positive LFD test must report this to the Absence Hub as there is a requirement to report staff absence nationally. Contact rduh.covid19hrabsencehub@nhs.net for Eastern services or rduh.hr@nhs.net for Northern services.

If staff have tested and COVID-19 is not detected, you may have another respiratory virus, in which case follow the same advice as for staff who are no longer required to test with regard to staying away from work and only return when you are feeling well enough.

There is no longer a requirement to test negative in order to return to work but staff and managers should still complete the risk assessment if staff work with severely immunosuppressed patients.

Staff should refer to the FAQs for further guidance. Further HR guidance is available here (Eastern services) and here (Northern services).

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