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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Alert Coronavirus / COVID-19

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Please find information on our services and visiting restrictions in our COVID-19 section.

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COVID-19 Staff FAQs: Test and Trace

Information alert box Last updated: 4 May 2021

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

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 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.

Test and Trace FAQs

What is the Test and Trace system and what implications does it have for me?

There have been some questions around the Test and Trace system, specifically around what implications this has for healthcare workers.

The Test and Trace system helps trace recent close contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

Should I leave contact tracing on in the app when I'm at work?

Updated guidance has been issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Test and Trace which states:

"NHS staff should download the NHS COVID-19 app to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

"However, staff should use the 'pause' contact-tracing function on the app when they are in healthcare buildings, including hospitals.

"Healthcare workers are still able to use some of the app's functionality while the app contact-tracing feature is 'paused', for example when 'checking in' to cafés and restaurants on hospital sites by scanning a QR code on the posters in these facilities."

Further information is available on the NHS Test and Trace website.

We've outlined some of the various outcomes below, and the subsequent actions you need to take. We have worked with our local health protection unit to agree our approach.

I've been notified that I'm a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the community (i.e. outside of the workplace). What do I do?

If you have been notified through Test and Trace that you are a contact of a confirmed case in the community, you should inform your line manager and FirstCare and self-isolate for 10 days.

I've been notified that I'm a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case who is also a colleague. What do I do?

If your colleague was identified through OUH symptomatic or asymptomatic staff testing programmes, the staff testing team will contact you directly. The same guidance applies as when you're named as a community contact.

You should inform your line manager and First Care and self-isolate for 10 days. There may be exceptions to this, and we will consider these on a case-by-case basis.

There are currently no circumstances where, if you have been told that you are a contact and must self-isolate, that you can obtain a test and return to work if the test is negative.

Importantly, this demonstrates the ever-increasing importance of social distancing in the workplace.

If you do not follow social distancing, it increases the likelihood of a colleague being named as a contact, and more people from your team potentially having to self-isolate. This will have a significant impact on our workforce and can be avoided by proper use of social distancing.

Why does NHS Test and Trace also apply to staff who have antibodies?

We need staff to be following social distancing guidelines in all aspects of our lives, in line with Government guidance. The NHS Test and Trace service has been established to minimise community transmission of COVID-19.

Staff who have been notified through the NHS Test and Trace or other national (Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales) contact tracing service that they are a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community (outside the health or social care setting or their place of work) they should inform their line manager and self-isolate for 10 days, in line with the NHS Test and Trace guidance.

If a staff member has been notified that they are a contact of a co-worker who has been confirmed as a COVID-19 case, and contact with this person occurred while not wearing PPE, the 10-day isolation period also applies.

I have been exposed to a patient or colleague with COVID-19 but I was wearing appropriate PPE. Should I remain at work and should I be tested?

If you have been exposed to a patient or colleague with current COVID-19 infection while wearing the correct PPE in accordance with the current IPC guidance, you are not considered to be a contact for the purposes of contact tracing and isolation, and will not be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

You are very welcome to attend for asymptomatic staff testing.

I have been exposed to a patient with COVID-19 without wearing appropriate PPE. Should I remain at work and should I be tested?

In this situation you should report the exposure to your line manager, who will liaise with the Infection Prevention and Control Team. If the exposure meets the definition of contact you will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days, and inform FirstCare.

You must not attend the Trust for asymptomatic testing if you are in self-isolation, but you are welcome to attend for asymptomatic staff testing after the 10 day self-isolation period is over.

If you develop symptoms during isolation you should book a symptomatic staff test.

I have been in contact with an individual in the community or my household who has now tested positive. Can I come to work?

You cannot come to work if this happened within the last 48 hours, and you were in face to face contact without PPE for more than one minute or in the same room for 15 minutes.

Please contact FirstCare and your line manager to declare an absence.

You should expect to be contacted by Test and Trace, and you will have to self-isolate for 10 days.

I am in contact with someone who has been told to self-isolate because they are a contact of a COVID case, e.g. my child has been sent home from school because of a case in school, or a member of my household has returned from abroad. Do I need to self-isolate?

No, as a contact of a contact you do not need to self-isolate.

You can continue to come to work, unless your contact develops symptoms of COVID, in which case you must self-isolate and your contact should be tested.

Can I take part in the NHS Test and Trace pilot scheme?

Trust staff who are named as contacts of COVID-19 cases and required to self-isolate, either in the community via Test and Trace or in a work setting, may be eligible to take part in this scheme.

All staff must self-isolate immediately when advised to by the Test and Trace or Staff Contact Tracing service. However, if you have been contacted by these services and think you may be eligible for the pilot, please email the OUH Contact Testing team:

The team will confirm if you are eligible to take part, and will take you through the next steps. Only the OUH Contact Testing team can advise if you're eligible.