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COVID-19 testing for social care staff

Information and guidance on coronavirus testing for social care staff.

The government is now offering testing to anyone who has coronavirus symptoms.

In addition to this, anyone without symptoms can take a free rapid coronavirus test (lateral flow test) twice a week. This should not be used if someone does have symptoms as they need to self-isolate and get a PCR test.

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 (but is not limited to):

  • Social workers
  • Support workers
  • Those working for charities or community organisations
  • Shared lives carers
  • Personal assistants
  • Unpaid carers

Where appropriate, regular testing of people being supported (for example if attending respite) may also be beneficial.

Providers offering testing through a national adult social care testing programme

Apart from personal assistants, adult social care staff who are eligible for regular testing through a national adult social care testing programme should continue to access testing through their existing adult social care testing programme. This includes:

  • Care home staff
  • Domiciliary carers
  • Eligible extra care and supported living settings
  • Eligible day care centres

This allow the Department of Health and Social Care to monitor and respond to data collected through the testing programme.

Test and trace for social care staff

The NHS Test and Trace service will be contacting those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus to tell them to self-isolate. With staff often coming into close contact with the people they provide care for, the Director General for Adult Social Care has issued this letter (PDF) outlining how the Test and Trace guidance applies to the care sector. In short, a staff member who has been caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID19 or who has symptoms of COVID19 while the staff member was wearing appropriate PPE will most likely not need to self-isolate. Such cases will be escalated to the local public health.

Staff testing in community opportunities and day service settings

The Department of Health and Social Care has asked us to prepare for a potential national rollout of testing for staff who work in buildings-based community opportunity or day service settings. 

To do so, we need you to let us know the following information if you haven’t done so already:

  • The number of staff employed by you in your buildings-based community opportunity or day service setting (including furloughed staff)
  • The approximate number of people who use your service.

Please send your response to

Although your organisation may deliver a number of different services, this information is required in relation to your building-based Community Opportunity/ Day Services only.

We are awaiting further detail on the testing rollout, but the DHSC are interested to know the size of the staffing population in this service area for planning purposes.

Personal assistants

Personal assistants can now access weekly COVID-19 testing if they provide care that requires them to come within 2 metres of an adult over the age of 18 who they support.