Letter to businesses from Dr Rupert Suckling - January 2022

A letter to businesses from the Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council with details of what your business needs to do with the spread of the Omicron variant.

Covid 19 rates across Doncaster have increased rapidly, this is linked to the new Omicron variant. It is expected that these high rates will have a significant impact on the operation and business continuity of many settings and organisations throughout January.

There have been changes in guidance relating to self-isolation since I wrote to you in December, and I wanted to take this opportunity to bring these to your attention.

Positive cases

If your employee tests positive:

The self-isolation advice for people with Covid-19 has changed. It is now possible to end self-isolation after 7 days, following 2 negative LFD tests taken 24 hours apart. The first LFD test should not be taken before the sixth day. Employees who have 2 consecutive negative tests on days 6 and 7 can return to work. Any person returning to the work setting should take additional precautions to limit close contact with other people.

From 11 January 2022, any employee who DOES NOT have any symptoms of covid but tests positive on an LFD test does not need to get a follow-up PCR test. They must register their LFD test on the Government website and self-isolate immediately for 10 days. They are able to leave isolation early if they have two negative LFD tests 24 hours apart with the first test taken no earlier than day 6 of their isolation. Please note that anyone who needs to claim the £500 support payment will still need a PCR test.

If your employee is a close contact, including household contact of someone who has tested positive:

Vaccinated persons and children: Any persons aged under 18 years and 6 months and fully vaccinated employees are strongly advised to take an LFD test every day for 7 days. This daily test should be completed before the person leaves the household for the first time that day. If any of these test results are positive, the person should self-isolate and arrange a PCR test.

Our local advice is that if you are a close contact and cannot get hold of an LFD test to test daily please isolate.

• People who are not fully vaccinated: Any persons not fully vaccinated and living in the same household as someone with Covid-19 are legally required to stay at home and self-isolate. Fully vaccinated is defined as 14 days after having received 2 doses of an approved vaccine. This applies only to people ages 18 years and 6 months or above.

Community transmission of this Covid-19 is the highest it has ever been, and we need everyone to work together to keep people safe. This impacts us all. As well as the changes to self-isolation it is important that we continue to:

Wear face coverings in indoor settings

Have effective ventilation – this continues to be key in preventing and reducing the impact of an outbreak of Covid-19.

LFD (asymptomatic) testing – regular testing is helping us to identify people who are positive without symptoms who would be unknowingly spreading the virus.

PCR testing – Any employee with new Covid-19 symptoms should arrange PCR testing and not attend their place of work.

Vaccination - Continue to promote vaccination to all who are eligible.

Support and welfare

The self-isolation support grant remains available and the criteria and how to apply are available at the link above.

Information about local support for self-isolation is available here, including a phone number for people who need additional support in self-isolation.

The national guidance is changing regularly so please do keep up to date and check the latest via www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Thank you again for all that you have been doing to protect your employees, their families, and the wider community.

Dr Rupert Suckling

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