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Care homes use both rapid lateral flow test and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. Using both combines the rapid results of lateral flow testing with the higher sensitivity of PCR tests. Lateral flow tests will quickly identify some individuals who are highly infectious, enabling swift action to minimise spread of the virus, while the PCR test will identify those with a lower viral load, when the results are received.
Changes to policy when there is one case of COVID-19 in a care home. Change to LFT testing frequency. Change to policy when there are 2 or more cases of COVID-19 in a care home. Change to ending outbreak restrictions, when they can be lifted and ongoing testing after this period.
Updated 'Care home COVID-19 testing guidance for regular and outbreak testing of staff and residents' to reflect changes to self-isolation guidance that came into effect on 16 August 2021.
Updated 'Care home COVID-19 testing guidance for regular and outbreak testing of staff and residents' and 'COVID-19 testing schedule for a suspected or confirmed outbreak in a care home' to reflect that policy for responding to the Delta variant (first identified in India) in care homes has now changed. As has been the case for the Alpha variant (first identified in Kent) cases since May 2021, for outbreaks involving the Delta variant, end of outbreak testing can now be undertaken 14 days (previously 28) after the most recent positive case. All positive cases should be treated as the Delta variant, unless proven otherwise.
Updated 'Care home COVID-19 testing guidance for regular and outbreak testing of staff and residents' to reflect Scotland moving to 119.
Updated to reflect changes to end of outbreak testing and updated instructions on using the multiple upload spreadsheet, which can now be used to report both rapid lateral flow tests and PCR tests.
Added link to the 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings' page and 'Testing for professionals visiting care homes' guidance.