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Alert Coronavirus / COVID-19

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COVID-19 Staff FAQs: Self-isolation

Information alert box Last updated: 25 April 2022

This is a fast moving situation and we will try to keep this page as up-to-date as possible.
Please continue to check national guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic.

If your question is not answered below, and you are a member of staff, please speak to your line manager or email covidquestions@ouh.nhs.uk

If your question is about an OUH HR matter that isn't addressed here, please discuss this initially with your line manager who can then raise it with the HR consultant for your Division.

Some links are to documents on the OUH internal staff intranet: if you are a staff member and cannot access the intranet, please email covidquestions@ouh.nhs.uk and we will send you the document you need.

Please remember guidance is likely to change rapidly, so check back to see if you have the most up-to-date version of a document.

Self-isolation FAQs

What is the guidance on self-isolation?

Self-isolation is a really important part of protecting yourself, your family and friends, and your colleagues.

If you are not feeling well, you are not expected to be at work. You should self-isolate and get tested using lateral flow tests.

For these purposes, the date of your first positive lateral flow test, or the day your symptoms started, is Day 0.

If you test positive, you need to self-isolate and take a lateral flow test on the fifth and sixth day (24 hours apart).

If both of these tests are negative, you may return to work on Day 6 if you have no COVID symptoms.

If the Day 5 lateral flow test is positive, you should continue to test daily until you have received two negative lateral flow test results, taken 24 hours apart.

If you are still positive at Day 10, it is considered unlikely that you are infectious and you can return to work providing you are medically fit to do so.

If you work with patients who are especially vulnerable to COVID, you should have a risk assessment with your line manager before returning to work if still testing positive at Day 10.

You must comply with all relevant infection control precautions, and PPE must be worn properly throughout the day.

What if I am a contact of a positive case?

People who live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 are at the highest risk of becoming infected because they are most likely to have prolonged close contact.

People who have stayed overnight in the household of someone with COVID-19 are also at high risk.

Patient-facing healthcare staff who are identified as a close contact should continue with twice-weekly asymptomatic lateral flow testing.

If you work with vulnerable patients - for example, Haematology/Oncology/Transplant - you should take lateral flow tests daily for seven days after exposure.

Lateral flow test results should be reported on the staff testing website.

You can pass COVID to others, even if you have no symptoms.

Staff who are identified as a household or overnight contact of someone who has had a positive COVID test result should discuss ways to minimise risk of onwards transmission with their line manager.

This may include considering:

  • redeployment to lower-risk areas for patient-facing staff, especially if the member of staff works with patients whose immune system means that they are at higher risk of serious illness despite vaccination
  • working from home for non patient-facing healthcare staff
  • limiting close contact with other people especially in crowded, enclosed, or poorly-ventilated spaces.

Whilst you are in work, you must continue to comply rigorously with all relevant infection control precautions.

What if I develop symptoms?

If you develop any symptoms, follow the advice for staff members with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19.

If a lateral flow test is negative, a PCR test can be carried out by the Staff Testing Team who can be contacted at ouh-tr.staffcovidtesting@nhs.net (however, there is no out of hours or weekend testing available).

If one of the daily lateral flow tests is positive, or you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you must remain at home and self-isolate.

There are other key points to consider.

On the days you are working, you should take your lateral flow test before starting your shift and wait for the result before coming in.

Comply with all relevant infection control precautions including PPE, social distancing and good hand hygiene.