Letter from Rachael Leslie, Deputy Director of Public Health

What businesses need to know about self isolation changes from Monday 16th August 2021.

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, I am Rachael Leslie, Deputy Director of Public Health here in Doncaster. I wanted to write to you with an update on the changes to the self-isolation guidelines that come into force on Monday 16 August 2021 and may affect your setting.
From 16th August:

  •  Anyone who has been identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case will no longer have to self-isolate, providing they have been fully vaccinated (have received 2 doses, and it has been 14 days or more since the second vaccination) and are not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms;
  • Close contacts who are part of an approved Covid-19 vaccine trial and people who are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons (as confirmed by a medical professional) also no longer have to self-isolate;
  •  Anyone under the age of 18 and 6 months who has been identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case will also no longer be required to self-isolate. Instead, they will be given advice about whether to get tested and will need to self-isolate for ten days only if they test positive;
  • All close contacts aged five and over, regardless of vaccination status, are advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible; However, you should not arrange to have a PCR test if you have previously received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop new symptoms, as it is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after Covid-19 infection;
  • Children aged four and under who are identified as close contacts are only advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their own household;
  • Close contacts who do not have symptoms do not need to isolate while awaiting the results of the PCR, however they should not attend work if they are a health or care worker;
  • Those who are fully vaccinated will only be required to self-isolate for ten days if they test positive for Covid-19 following a PCR test or develop symptoms;
  • Over 18s who are not fully vaccinated will still need to isolate for ten days if they are contacts, and any person who tests positive will still have to isolate if they test positive, to protect themselves and others;
  • If you are currently part-way through an isolation period as a close contact but are fully vaccinated or under 18 and have no symptoms of Covid-19 you are able to stop isolating on Monday 16 August.

NHS Test and Trace will contact you to let you know that you have been identified as a contact and to check whether you are legally required to self-isolate.

Alongside PCR testing for anyone with symptoms or who is a close contact, everyone in England is encouraged to take up the government’s offer of free, twice weekly rapid testing to find additional cases among people who do not have symptoms.

If at any point they receive a positive LFD test or go on to develop symptoms of Covid-19, they need to book in for a PCR test and self-isolate while waiting for the results. If the PCR result is positive, they then need to complete ten days of isolation which means not going into work or elsewhere. On the other hand, if the PCR result is negative, and they are well, they can end their isolation.

You can find out how to access LFD test kits below.
Further information on the changes to self-isolation guidance is available here
It is important to remember that even if you are vaccinated, you can still be infected with COVID-19 and pass it on to others.

If you are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 but you are not required to self-isolate, you can help protect others by following the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread. As well as getting a PCR test, you may also consider:

  • limiting close contact with people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces
  • wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and where you are unable to maintain social distancing
  • limiting contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
  • taking part in regular LFD testing

You should follow this advice until 10 full days after your most recent contact with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Keeping your setting safe
Hands. Face. Space and fresh air:

  • Hands - wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home -use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Face - wear a face covering in indoor settings such as restaurants and shops where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space - stay at least 2 metres away from people when out within your community and at work. If you feel comfortable having contact with close family and friends, please think about the vulnerability of your loved ones and continue to show caution.
  • Fresh air – keep indoor spaces where you meet ventilated by opening windows and doors

In addition, if you are feeling generally unwell please stay at home and do not attend school, work, outings or special events.

Face coverings:
Wearing a face covering can reduce the risk to others and yourself against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of the virus that causes coronavirus infection (COVID-19).
It is recommended to continue wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t usually meet. In particular, where the risk of transmission is likely to be greater.

Vaccinations:
The vaccination programme is doing well, and everyone aged 16 and over is now eligible.
Over 18s can book an appointment by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. You can also attend any drop-in vaccination clinic in Doncaster – you can find a list of these here: www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/covidvaxclinics/.
16 and 17-year-olds can currently attend any drop-in clinic in Doncaster and will able to book on the national booking system soon.
It is very important that you attend for your second dose which should be done 8 weeks after your first.
If you have any questions or concerns about taking the vaccine visit our website for more information. www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/health-wellbeing/vaccinations

Testing update:
There are a number of symptomatic and asymptomatic testing options available for people in the borough:

Symptomatic:
If you go on to develop one of the symptoms of Covid-19, a high temperature, a new persistent cough, or a loss of sense of smell or taste please book a test via the NHS testing system (visit nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119). Financial support for self-isolation may be available. Please visit: www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/emergencies/coronavirus-financial-advice to find out more.

Asymptomatic:
Community testing, using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs but also known as ‘rapid’ or LFT tests) is still available for residents through our mobile testing unit, pharmacy collect and ordering online. This is important to identify people who ARE NOT displaying coronavirus symptoms and, in turn, reducing coronavirus transmission rates in the community.
Please visit www.doncaster.gov.uk/covidtesting for more information about this.

Test and Trace
Our local and national test and trace teams are also operating across Doncaster.
The teams will work with people with a positive result to identify contacts in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus. It is important that people share details of those they have been in direct contact with to help us reduce transmission rates. This service is anonymous.

For more information, please visit:
www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/health-wellbeing/doncaster-s-local-test-and-trace-service
Thank you once again for all you are doing to reduce transmission of Covid-19 across the borough. Let’s keep doing all we can to keep rates as low as possible, let’s Do it for Doncaster.

Rachael Leslie
Deputy Director of Public Health

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