Swab (PCR) test

Given the current level of transmission of Covid-19 and the much lower than normal levels of other viral infections, there is concern that staff who do not have the typical symptoms of Covid-19 but have other flu like or respiratory symptoms may have the infection.

In view of this, we have made a change to the staff testing programme as follows:

Covid-19 symptoms

Any member of staff who develops one or more of the following symptoms must self-isolate and arrange a swab:

  • High temperature – this means a feeling of feverishness, or a measured temperature >37.8 degrees
  • New cough – this means a new intermittent or persistent cough, or worsening of your usual cough (if you have one)
  • A loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, particularly in the absence of nasal congestion

If a member of your household develops one or more of these symptoms you should arrange a test for them and all of the household should self-isolate.

Non-specific symptoms

Any member of staff who does not have any of the three symptoms above but does develop one or more of the following, should submit their next asymptomatic swab as soon as possible (even if one has been done in the previous few days).

  • Sore throat
  • Nasal discharge or congestion
  • Muscle aches
  • New hoarseness
  • New shortness of breath
  • New wheeze

It is not necessary to self-isolate whilst waiting for the result of this swab, unless you have been instructed to do so for another reason.

If you are not registered with the asymptomatic programme but require a swab for this reason please arrange it via: https://cuhstaffportal.co.uk/testrequest/. Please then register with the asymptomatic programme.

If you are unsure whether or not you should self-isolate whilst waiting for a swab and result, please contact occupational health, 01223 216767 or ohschelp@addenbrookes.nhs.uk.

Asymptomatic testing programme

We ask all staff working on site to register with the asymptomatic testing programme. Details of how to do so can be found at: Staff asymptomatic Covid-19 screening programme

Booking tests and results

To arrange an appointment for a swab because you or a household contact is symptomatic visit: https://cuhstaffportal.co.uk/testrequest/

Please do not present to the staff testing pods without a booked appointment as the staff there will not be able to arrange a test for you.

Results will be provided through MyChart or by occupational health, with advice as to when to return to work.

In a very few cases we may require more than one swab, should the first be void for any reason or return a borderline result. You will be advised by occupational health should this be the case.

Repeat testing before returning to work after Covid-19

For the majority of staff who have had a positive swab there is no need to have a repeat test before returning to work. However, we have adopted recent NICE guidance for two distinct groups:

  • Health care workers after confirmed or suspected Covid-19, if they work directly with children and young people who are immunocompromised.
  • Health care workers after confirmed or suspected Covid-19, if they work directly with haematopoietic stem cell transplantation patients (we have extended this guidance to all staff working in the following areas: C2, D9, F5, G5, C9, C10, D10, Haematology Day Unit and Oncology Day Unit).

Staff in these groups can only return to work once they have reached day 11 (day 1 being the day after onset of symptoms or, for individuals who have not had any symptoms, day 1 is the after the swab was taken), had no symptoms for at least a week and have had a repeat swab which is negative for Covid-19. If you are in one of these groups you should have been informed by your line manager of this requirement. If you have had a positive swab you must inform the nurse or doctor who contacts you about the requirement for a repeat swab. You will then be advised when a repeat swab should be taken. If you are unsure if this applies to your job role please ask your line manager.

All other staff who have had confirmed or suspected Covid-19 can return to work at the end of their isolation period (as advised by OH or NHS Test and Trace) as long as they feel well and have not had an elevated temperature for at least 48 hours (an exception to this is anyone who has required admission to hospital because of Covid-19, who should not return until at least 14 days after the first positive swab was taken) . A cough or altered taste/smell can persist for some time after Covid-19 and it is not necessary to wait for these symptoms to resolve before returning to work.

Advice for acting on negative Covid-19 results

If you have tested negative for Covid-19, you can return to work, unless you remain unwell. Persistent symptoms such as cough or fever may not be due to Covid-19 but could represent another, potentially infectious illness. You can return to work once any fever has resolved and you feel well enough to do so. If you have had diarrhoea or vomiting you should not return until at least 48 hours after the last episode.

Please phone Occupational Health immediately on 01223 216767 if any of the following apply to you:

  • Your symptoms have changed since you initially reported them to Occupational Health.
  • You are the household contact of somebody with symptoms.
  • You have been identified as a contact of somebody with confirmed Covid-19 through the NHS Test and Trace service or received an alert from the NHS COVID-19 app.
  • You are unsure of how to interpret any of the advice above.

Important: If you have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days because of contact with a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19, you MUST continue to self-isolate, even if you have had a negative swab yourself. Please contact Occupational Health if unsure.

NHS Test and Trace

It is possible you may be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team, for example, if you have been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 (outside of the workplace). If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and advised to self-isolate or if you receive an alert from the NHS COVID-19 app, please follow Trust procedures for absence but also contact occupational health.