Free rapid tests available nationally
Everyone in England without symptoms is now able to take a free rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) test twice a week. Given the critical role testing plays in helping to keep Adult […]
Everyone in England without symptoms is now able to take a free rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) test twice a week.
Given the critical role testing plays in helping to keep Adult Social Care (ASC) service users and staff safe, anyone working in adult social care who is not currently taking part in a regular testing regime should access tests through this link and test twice a week. This may include Adult Social Care staff such as social workers and support workers as well as those working for charities or community organisations, shared lives carers, personal assistants, unpaid carers and others. Where appropriate, regular testing of people being supported (for example if attending respite) may also be beneficial.
This will be crucial in detecting people that are infectious and to help maintain the safety of everyone in the adult social care sector.
How to access tests
Rapid lateral flow tests (LFT) are available for home delivery, for collection at participating pharmacies and local sites, or individuals can be tested at local asymptomatic test sites. Staff should access these tests through any of these routes and test twice weekly (every 3-4 days), as close as possible to starting work. Therefore, staff ordering tests for home delivery should order a box of seven tests every 21 days.
Staff will need to register their positive, negative or void results online or by calling 119. If positive, staff should self-isolate and order a confirmatory PCR test.
A recorded weekly webinar is available for further advice on ordering, completing and registering tests for adult social care.
These tests are only for people without symptoms. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should self isolate immediately and book a PCR test online or by calling 119.
ASC staff already accessing regular testing
Apart from Personal Assistants, Adult Social Care staff who are eligible for regular testing through a national adult social care testing programme (for example all care home staff, domiciliary carers, eligible extra care and supported living settings, and eligible day care centres) should continue to
access testing through their existing adult social care testing programme. This is important because these testing regimes are designed specifically for each part of adult social care and we monitor the testing data for each part of adult social care to understand the prevalence in that sector and change
our guidance on infection prevention and control, including the testing regime if necessary in response to keep people as safe as possible.
Personal Assistants should switch to using rapid LFTs twice a week (ordered here) rather than the previous PCR testing process.
Adult Social Care staff/organisations not part of a national adult social care testing programme may already be accessing twice weekly rapid testing through a local arrangement. The expansion of routes to access test kits should help improve access to testing and flexibility to find the right testing
route for them.
If you have any queries, our regular webinars provide additional guidance, or you can call 119.