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COVID outbreak rules reduce to 10 days

New COVID-19 outbreak management guidance for care homes in England reduces restrictions from 14 to 10 days.

Updated guidance on care home visiting in England states:

  • subject to a risk assessment by the health protection team (HPT), outbreak restrictions may be lifted if 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms in the most recent case, a round of PCR recovery testing of all residents and staff is undertaken, and there are no PCR positive results
  • all residents should isolate for 10 days (with testing to end isolation sooner) following a high-risk visit out, including an emergency stay in hospital, or if they test positive for COVID-19
  • visitors are advised against visiting the care home (for 10 days) if they have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Where visits do occur, visitors should have received a negative lateral flow test result earlier in the day of their visit
  • visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster. Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as COVID-19. If visitors have any symptoms that suggest other transmissible viruses and infections, such as cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting, they should avoid the care home until at least five days after they feel better
  • physical contact should be enabled to help health and wellbeing, as long as IPC measures are in place, such as visiting in a ventilated space, using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the visit, and hand washing before and after visiting – gloves are not needed for handholding and stringent adherence to hand washing is advised
  • residents should be supported to undertake visits out of the care home as appropriate, following the reasonable precautions and testing arrangements outlined in this guidance.
  • In a parliamentary answer care minister Gillian Keegan has said that the testing regime in adult social care after 1 April 2022 is under review. Until then, testing for visitors to care homes should align with current guidance on testing. Further details will be published in due course.

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