Letter to businesses from Dr Rupert Suckling - April 5th 2022

A letter to businesses from the Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council with regards to living with covid.

From April 1, 2022, we take the next step in the Government’s Living with Covid plan.

While the restrictions are now removed, and most testing reduced, the pandemic is not over. Please do follow the updated public health guidance to protect yourself and others, particularly those who may become seriously ill if infected with Covid-19.

The main change from this date is that free testing is no longer available for most businesses, and I know that for many of you that is a concern, which is why I wanted to share with you the detail of who is eligible for free testing and remind you what we can do locally to continue to protect ourselves and employees from the virus.

Who can get free tests:

Free tests for people who have Covid-19 symptoms will continue to be provided to the following groups, largely via the existing channels:

NHS patients in hospital, who will be tested via the established NHS testing programme

Those eligible for COVID-19 antiviral and other treatments, who will be sent a pack of tests and can request replacements if they need them

NHS staff and staff working in NHS-funded independent healthcare provision – the current lateral flow test ordering portal will remain available for this group to order their own tests

Adult social care staff in care homes, homecare organisations, extra care and supported living settings and adult day care centres, as well as residents in care homes and extra care and supported living settings via the established organisation ordering portal

Adult social care social workers, personal assistants, Shared Lives carers and CQC inspectors will be able to order tests from the current online lateral flow ordering system

Staff and patients in hospices will be supplied tests by the hospice

There is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate if you do test positive with an LFD or PCR, the advice remains to stay at home and avoid contact with others if you test positive or have symptoms.

Due to current high rates locally, I would advise that people aged over 18 who have covid symptoms should self isolate for five full days rather than going out as soon as they feel well.

I would urge you as responsible business owners to support employees and encourage them to stay at home if they are unwell.

While we are taking the next steps to ‘living with Covid’ it is important to recognise that the virus has not gone away, and we should all continue to do all we can to halt its spread and help to reduce the pressure on our health services.

We can all continue to keep indoor areas ventilated, wash our hands, wear a face covering in busy indoor locations and importantly to take up the offer of vaccination and boosters when offered them.

The national guidance provides the latest information so please do keep up to date via www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For the latest ACAS advice visit Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for employers and employees | Acas

I’d like to thank you once again for all your efforts during what I know has been an extremely challenging time.

Let’s all continue to balance the risks and do what we can to control the transmission of the virus. Let’s Do it for Doncaster.

Dr Rupert Suckling

Director of Public Health

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