13 April 2021
Updated guidance has been published that sets out how open day care centres providing essential care in England can order weekly polymarase chain reaction (PCR) testing for their staff. There is also separate guidance that sets out how personal assistants (PAs) working in adult social care in England can access twice-weekly Covid-19 lateral flow tests (LFTs).
NHS Test and Trace is offering weekly PCR home testing to adult day care centre workers in England to reduce infection risk in adult day care centres that are currently open, and to identify any positive cases in these settings as early as possible.
Eligible day care centres are those that are open and run by paid day care staff. Services must be for adults over 18 and provided within non-residential care settings that support the health and well-being of adults. This includes settings such as:
purpose-built day care centres
day centres attached to or part of a care home or supported living
other buildings in communities specifically used for regular adult day care.
Staff testing should only be conducted on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (if the worker is able to access a priority post box with Sunday collections).
As the national lockdown rules change, as explained in (COVID-19) Coronavirus Restrictions: What You Can and Cannot Do, here, additional information will be provided on how centres that are re-opening can receive access to testing. At-home PCR Testing for Day Care Centres in England is available here.
PAs are people who are directly employed by an individual, or are self-employed, to provide care and support to enable them to live as independently as possible. Those PAs working in adult social care who provide care that requires them to come within two metres of an adult over the age of 18, who they support, will be eligible for testing. The care could include support in the home, or to go out into the community.
PAs have the responsibility of ordering a box of seven LFTs every 21 days for themselves, or an employer can order test kits on their behalf. A PA should take a test twice a week and register them online.
If a personal assistant receives a positive LFT result they should order and conduct a confirmatory PCR test immediately, isolate until they receive a result, and notify their employer.
The guidance, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing for Personal Assistants, is available here.