Information for staff: COVID-19 testing

As a ‘Green’ or “COVID Protected” hospital Trust, RNOH needs to ensure the risk of transmission of COVID from staff to patients or from staff to staff is minimised to the lowest possible level.  This is to be achieved through regular screening of staff, checking staff temperatures daily and ensuring that staff member reports no symptoms of COVID prior to coming to work. 

In addition, the Trust has introduced regular testing for all staff who come on site for some / all of their work.  Being tested regularly has a number of benefits for staff and the Trust:

  • Being tested regularly protects patients, where the risk of mortality related to surgery is 18%
  • Being tested regularly protects your family/the people you live with
  • Being tested regularly helps break the chain of transmission and will potentially shorten the duration of the pandemic

Regular testing is the right thing to do and is now a requirement for staff working on site. We currently have two testing regimes available to staff: PCR Swab testing and LFD self-testing. Please note that LFD testing is currently being piloted and is not currently available to all staff. Further information is shown in the relevant sections below.

Symptomatic Staff

We are encouraging all staff with major or minor symptoms to get swabbed for COVID-19.  If you have any of the symptoms below, please book a test as soon as possible.

Major criteria for COVID-19:

Fever (>=37.8°)
New persistent cough
New shortness of breath
New loss of sense of smell
New headache plus muscle aches

 

Minor criteria for COVID-19

Nasal discharge
Non-persistent cough
Hoarseness
Wheeze
Headache
Muscle aches
Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea

Contact Tracing of Positive Staff

Where a positive member of staff is identified, the individual result email will be sent to the individual’s line manager, Occupational Health and the Infection Control and Prevention Team Lead Nurse and Consultant in Infectious Diseases. At weekends, the silver on call must be notified. 

The Trust’s Track and Trace team will be responsible for contacting the member of staff and confirming any possible work based contacts in the 48 hours prior to the positive test result or onset of symptoms, whichever is earlier. Advice will be sought from Occupational Health as appropriate

The Trust’s Track and Trace team will also confirm whether the member of staff has been in contact with any patients without appropriate PPE. Patient contact with staff wearing PPE will not be considered a concern.

The Trust’s Track and Trace team must liaise with the Line manager of the affected staff member and provide the Health and Safety Manager with a written record in order to determine whether this incident is RIDDOR reportable in accordance with the RNOH Health and Safety policy and Incident management policy.

Contacts are defined as:

  • people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • sexual partners
  • a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
    • being coughed on
    • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
    • contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

For further information link to: Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person

The Trust’s Track and Trace team must contact confirmed contacts as soon as possible. Any contacts will be asked to go home from the Trust as soon as possible. Contacts must self-isolate for 14 days after they were in contact with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus. This is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

Line managers of both the positive member of staff and the relevant contacts must also be informed by the Trust’s Track and Trace team. The Trust’s Track and Trace team can seek support from HR to confirm relevant details of staff and managers.

For further information, contact the Infection Prevention & Control team, Monday to Friday 8:00am-4:00pm via Vocera or Switchboard if you are offsite.

Occupational Health contact details:
Angela Rouse – Occupational Health Nurse ext 1474 or via Switchboard, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:00pm

Staff can book a COVID PCR swab test online here. The link is also on Grapevine on the COVID Page. Any member of staff who is working on site should be having a COVID swab every fortnight. Staff who are working from home or shielding are not required to have a test.

Where staff are isolating because of a symptomatic member of their household, a test may be booked for the symptomatic household member only. A test for symptomatic individuals should be booked via email to the testing team on rnoh.rnohtesters@nhs.net. Asymptomatic household members should not be routinely tested.

The test consists of a high nasal and throat swab and takes just a few minutes to do. The test will take place in the testing centre, now in the Disability Foundation entrance, located in Louis Fleischmann building. Staff will be released from duty to undertake the test but should liaise with their line manager before booking a swab.

Staff will receive the result of their test directly as a text message to their phone, so please enter a mobile phone number in the form and the result will also be sent to a secure inbox within the Trust and shared with their line managers. Results should be received within 48 hours. If you have not received a test within 48 hours, please contact your Divisional Leadership Team in the first instance who can check Insight. If the result is not available via Insight then please email. rnoh.covidresults@nhs.net

Lateral flow testing

The RNOH is an early adopter site of Lateral Flow Testing (LFD). LFD testing detects the presence of the COVID-19 viral antigen from a swab sample. The test is self-administered using a handheld device and produces results in 20-30 mins. Staff should test themselves twice a week – every three to four days – to fit with shift patterns and leave requirements – for example, Wednesday and Sunday, or Monday and Thursday.

Staff will be provided with a box of 25 tests, enough to last 12 weeks. To acknowledge receipt of these tests, please visit http://tiny.cc/RNOHLFDReceipt to log your details or scan the QR code below with your smartphone.

By accepting receipt of these tests, you agree that you will undertake the tests twice weekly and record the result everytime you complete a test, even for invalid results. 

These tests are for your own use and MUST NOT be shared with anyone else. Please ensure they are stored appropriately and out of reach of children.

Undertaking the test

You can see a demonstration of how to take the test by watching this video. Written Instructions are in th documents section below. 

You must log the results of your test, every time you complete a test by visiting https://tiny.cc/RNOHLFD or scanning the QR code below with your smartphone.

You must record the test even if it comes back as INVALID.

For any positive result, staff should inform their manager in the normal way. They should then arrange a confirmatory PCR swab test with the onsite testing centre. If staff have taken their LFD test on site, they should Vocera the Testing Team and arrange a test before going home. They and their household should then isolate as set out in government guidance.
 

Reading the Results

The test will take 30 minutes to read, the results are as follows:

Positive result

Inform your line manager, you will be referred to the on-site testing centre for a PCR test and told to go home and isolate until your PCR result is known.  If the PCR is positive, Occupational Health will conduct contact tracing 48 hours before date and time of lateral flow test. Please record your result onto the survey hub

Negative result

Enter your result on to the survey hub

Invalid result

Please record that you have had an invalid test but then repeat the test and enter this result onto the survey hub as well.