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Guidance on NHS Test and Trace notifications for employers, businesses and workers

Gov.uk Update

There is new guidance for businesses to follow if an employee develops Covid symptoms as well as new guidance for actions required by individuals and businesses as a result of NHS test and trace notifications. The government guidance is an important and useful guide. 

Please contact our team HR and or H&S to support you if you have a test and trace situation with a member of staff or symptoms of COVID-19 evident with a member of staff. We are already advising a number of clients to assist in their response to minimise the risks to the health of individuals and the continued operation of the business.

NHS Test and Trace in the workplace

Summary
Guidance on NHS Test and Trace for employers, businesses and workers.

Change made
Updated to reflect the launch of the COVID-19 app and how it should be used in the workplace. Corrected the period that people are infectious to say: from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms.

Time updated
4:23pm, 29 September 2020

Follow the link

Here are some of the contents in order that you can appreciate the guidance for your benefit.

If a worker develops symptoms and orders a test

If a worker develops symptoms, they should request a free test as soon as their symptoms start.

Once they have ordered the test, they’ll be asked by NHS Test and Trace to provide details of anyone who they have been in close recent contact with. This will not automatically be all their co-workers, but anyone who meets the definition of a close contact.

A close ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they’re infectious to others). This could be a person who:

  • spends significant time in the same household
  • is a sexual partner
  • has had face-to-face contact (within one meter), including:
  • being coughed on
  • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
  • contact within one meter for one minute
  • has been within 2 meters of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • has traveled in a small vehicle, or in a large vehicle or plane

Where an interaction between 2 people has taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, this would not be considered sufficient contact, provided that there has been no other contact such as any of those indicated above.
 
When someone first develops symptoms and orders a test, they will be encouraged to alert the people that they have had close contact with in the 48 hours before symptom onset. If any of those close contacts are co-workers, the person who has developed symptoms should consider asking their employer to alert those co-workers.

Close contacts at this stage do not need to self-isolate unless requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace or a public health professional, but they should:

  • avoid contact with people at high increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus, such as people with pre-existing medical conditions
  • take extra care in practicing social distancing and good hygiene
  • watch out for symptoms and self-isolate if they also show signs of coronavirus

Employers may need to keep staff informed about COVID-19 cases among their colleagues. However, employers should not name the individual. If a co-worker is at risk because of close contact with the positive case, then they will be notified to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Employers should make sure their workplaces are safe by regular cleaning and by encouraging good hygiene practice.
 
Make sure your workers self-isolate
You should help your employees self-isolate if they:

  • have coronavirus symptoms and are waiting for a test result
  • have tested positive for coronavirus
  • are a member of the same household as someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • have been in close recent contact with someone who has tested positive and received a notification to self-isolate from NHS Test and Trace, either from a contact tracer or via the NHS COVID-19 app

You should not share the identity of a worker who has tested positive with other workers
 
There is much more detail and guidance in the document so follow the link above. It will answer many of those questions , but remember if this situation develops in your business you are not alone and can and should call us straight away so we can help and support you, even if it’s out side normal office hours.

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