Find answers to frequently asked questions about working during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from our care teams and head office employees. This information will be updated as government, public health and employment guidelines change. Please contact your manager or HR if you have any specific or personal questions about your job and Covid-19.
We will also provide regular updates to all care teams via email, our news pages and social channels. We receive all central government guidance as soon as it is issued and also receive updates from councils, informing us of the situation and arrangements at a more local level.
I am anxious about coronavirus – what help is available?
Working in care during these unprecedented times has seen us all face changes to our daily lives and brought about anxieties for ourselves, our families and for the people we support.
It’s important to remember it is okay to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. It is equally important to share your concerns with others. Agincare is here to support you, and you can always speak to your manager, senior managers or HR, who will listen and offer advice and support.
It is important to stick to the facts – get your information from reliable sources such as gov.uk and the NHS. Information should not be shared from social media and other websites that may contain misinformation unless fact checked against credible sources.
Working in the care sector inevitably means that you will come across vulnerable people. Following strict PPE guidance will help protect both yourself and them. The use of masks, and eye shields if required , changing out of your uniform before leaving work, and having a bath or shower on returning home will provide you with the protection as advised.
Should I test for COVID-19?
No. Asymptomatic testing of health and social care staff has been paused in England following guidance in force from 31 August 2022 . This will mean that, while cases remain low, social care staff currently won’t need to routinely test twice a week. Please talk to manager if you support in taking tests.
How can I get a COVID vaccination?
It is now easier than ever to get vaccinated – book or manage your vaccination.
Is the the vaccine compatible with the practices of my religion?
Please see detailed information and guidance from faith communities about COVID 19 vaccination.
What PPE do I need to wear in different situations?
Please see detailed guidance on our PPE page which is regularly updated with the latest guidance.
What should I do if I have Covid symptoms?
Those with symptoms should take a lateral flow test as soon as they develop symptoms and take another lateral flow test 48 hours after the first test. Symptomatic people should stay away from work and conduct the lateral flow tests at home. They should only come into work if both lateral flow test results are negative. Please keep your manager updated during this time so they can support and advise you. Please note that your return to work may be on a risk assessed basis.
View a poster of what to do if you have symptoms
What should I do if I have a positive test?
Latest guidance (scroll down to view section under ‘Staff movement’) says to avoid passing on the virus, anyone who receives a positive lateral flow should follow the advice regarding staying at home and avoiding contact with other people from the day they test positive or develop symptoms. This is called day 0. There is no need to take a PCR test after a positive lateral flow test result.
Social care workers with COVID-19 should not attend work until they have had 2 consecutive negative lateral flow test results (taken at least 24 hours apart).
The first lateral flow test should only be taken from 5 days after day 0 (the day their symptoms started, or the day their test was taken if they did not have symptoms).
If both lateral flow tests results are negative, they may return to work immediately after the second negative lateral flow test result on day 6, if their symptoms have resolved, or their only symptoms are cough or anosmia (loss/change of taste and/or smell) which can last for several weeks.
If results remain positive, continue to test daily. You are able to return to work with 2 negative lateral flow tests that are 24 hours apart. On day 10 you can return to work with no temperature and a risk assessment.
Please keep your manager updated during this time so they can support and advise you. Your return to work may be on a risk assessed basis.
Do I need to isolate if a contact has Covid?
Team members who are a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case should inform their line manager immediately so that the proper processes, and support as needed, can be followed.
The majority of health and social care staff who are contacts will be able to continue in their usual role. They should comply with all relevant infection control precautions and PPE should be worn properly throughout the day. They no longer need to undertake any additional testing, and instead should continue their usual testing regime.
If the team member develops symptoms of COVID-19 during this period, they should test and follow the guidance (see above) depending on the result.
Find out more about isolation guidance (scroll down to view section below ‘Staff movement’)
Extremely vulnerable people
Find latest Government guidance about shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19.
The shielding programme has now ended in England. This means that people who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable will not be advised to shield in the future or follow specific national guidance.
If this applies to you, you will have received a letter informing you of these changes in more detail and providing further information on available support. Please talk to your line manager or HR if you have any concerns about this.
What if an employee needs time off work to look after someone?
Employees are entitled to take time off work to help someone who depends on them (a ‘dependant’) in an unexpected event or emergency. This would apply to situations related to coronavirus (COVID-19). For example:
- If they have children they need to look after or arrange childcare because their child’s school has closed
- To help their child or another dependant if they’re sick, or need to go into isolation or hospital
This is unpaid and there is no current guidance from the government to change this.
Are employees paid if isolating or absent from work due to Covid positive illness?
Staff will be entitled to statutory sick pay, the same as for any other absence.
Can I give Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?
Yes. Where a person appears to have the absence of signs of life usual processes are to be followed if the person does not have a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) in place. The likelihood of transmission of infection is possible in any such case but take extra care if the person has, or is suspected of having Covid-19. You must ensure that all infection prevention control procedures apply – using your PPE, including face mask, during CPR.
Because of the possibility that the person may have COVID-19, the UK Resuscitation Council advises:
- Do not listen or feel for breathing by placing your ear and cheek close to the person’s mouth
- If you are in any doubt about confirming cardiac arrest, the default position is to start chest compressions until help arrives
- Make sure an ambulance is on its way. If COVID-19 is suspected, tell them when you call 999
- Place a cloth/towel over the victim’s mouth and nose and attempt compression only CPR until the ambulance arrives. Put hands together in the middle of the chest and push hard and fast. Placing a cloth/towel over the persons’ mouth and nose will limit any coughing/spluttering when the person resumes breathing
- After performing compression-only CPR, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand gel is a convenient alternative
If CPR is unsuccessful, infection control precautions continue to apply whilst deceased individuals remain in the care environment. This is due to the ongoing risk of infectious transmission via contact, although the risk is usually lower than for living patients.
Where the deceased was known or suspected to have been infected with COVID-19, inform the GP who comes to certify death, the coroner if required and the chosen funeral director prior to collection.
What is viral load?
Viral load simply means how much of a virus you have in your body. Standing further away from someone when they breathe or cough means fewer virus particles reach you.
The infectious dose is the amount of a virus you need to be exposed to become ill. The more you are exposed, the sicker you will likely become.
What is the guidance outside of work?
As a frontline essential worker delivering care to vulnerable members of your community, it is essential you remain just as vigilant outside of work, and follow the prevailing guidance to ensure you reduce/avoid transition of the virus to our clients and other team members.