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Advice for staff who have received a positive COVID-19 PCR or LFD test result

From 11th January 2022 due to the high prevalence of COVID-19 in the community most people including staff temporarily do not require a COVID-19 confirmatory PCR swab test to confirm a positive LFD test result. However you should request a confirmatory PCR swab test if any of the following situations apply to you:

  1. you have received an email or letter from the NHS because of a health condition that means that you have an indication for new COVID-19 treatments
  2. you are taking LFD tests as part of a research programme, and the programme asks you to take a confirmatory PCR test
  3. your mandatory day 2 LFD test after arriving in England following travel from another country is positive
  4. you wish to claim a Test and Trace Support Payment if you lose income because you need to self-isolate
  5. you do not have COVID-19 suspect symptoms, you are not a significant contact of a COVID-19 case (for example in your household), and you believe that a reproducible (weak) positive LFD test is false-positive, in order to return to work

As per the current guidance following a positive LFD, or following a positive PCR test result if a PCR test was performed, you must self-isolate at home for a minimum of 5 full days.

If you are a UHNM staff member you should notify your line manager and/or clinical lead about any absence, and report this on Empactis.

The self-isolation period remains 10 full days for those without negative results from 2 LFD tests taken a day apart.

The isolation period includes the day the symptoms started (or the day your positive swab was taken if you did not have symptoms at the time), also described as Day 0. You should not take a further LFD test before Day 5. If you have no fever and think you feel well enough to return to work from Day 6, you must have performed and reported on NHS T&T a negative LFD test on Day 5 and Day 6 before returning to work on Day 6. A persistent loss of smell/taste or occasional cough is not a reason to continue to self-isolate since this is not associated with infectiousness.

However, those leaving self-isolation before Day 10 are strongly advised to limit close contact with others outside their household, especially in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces. If you return to work on Day 7, 8, 9 or 10 following your second negative LFD, then you are asked to avoid taking a break together with colleagues, and if involved in direct patient care, to wear a fit-tested non-valved FFP3 mask or equivalent when providing care as an extra precaution until Day 11.

If you LFD test on Day 6 or 7 is positive then you should continue to self-isolate and perform a daily LFD test. It is not unusual for an LFD test to still be positive after Day 5, and if you find this then you must continue to self-isolate prior to Day 11 until you have obtained two consecutive negative LFD tests taken at least 24h apart.

If your work at UHNM is non-patient facing and you have a positive LFD test on Day 10 in the absence of symptoms, then you can return to work from Day 11 provided you do not engage in patient-facing work prior to Day 15. Non-patient facing staff can stop LFD testing after Day 10 unless they are still symptomatic and hence not returning to work.

If your LFD test result on Day 10 is positive and your work at UHNM is patient-facing, then you should continue to take daily LFD tests and not return to clinical duties until a single negative LFD test result is received before Day 15.

It is unusual for an LFD test to be still positive on Day 14, and if found this is unlikely to be associated with persisting infectiousness after Day 14 in someone who is not severely immunocompromised. If you believe you are severely immunocompromised and you are still LFD positive on Day 14 then you should discuss your return to work with Occupational Health (Team Prevent). Otherwise if you have recovered from any symptom and your LFD test is still positive on Day 14, you can return to work on Day 15 and you should not take a further LFD test until 90 days after your first positive COVID-19 PCR or LFD Swab test unless you have a new significant contact with a COVID-19 case.

Up-to-date guidance can be found on https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance