COVID-19: Testing

In summary:


  • Please note that from Saturday April 1st  any PCR tests returned via existing routes will not be processed and the results of tests will not be communicated.
  • If your setting is currently in outbreak, day 4-7 PCR’s and day 11 PCR recovery testing should not be undertaken.
  • You will be able to come out of outbreak measures 5 days after the last confirmed or suspected case.
  • Any new service users displaying symptoms over the weekend should be tested using an LFD if they are eligible for COVID-19 treatments and have symptoms of a respiratory infection
  • From Monday the 3rd April there is no longer a need to test the whole home to identify COVID-19 cases. Instead, if 2 or more residents display respiratory symptoms within 14 days of each other you only test the first 5 linked symptomatic residents using an LFD to assess if there is an outbreak
  • Discharges from hospital to your setting no longer require a PCR and instead a negative LFD result will be provided to you before discharge
  • Service users being admitted from the community do not need any test before admission.


Testing Guidance

Please find below tables outlining what testing providers need to do, this is based on the guidance, which can be found here:

Care home autonomy to initiate COVID-19 Outbreak management risk-asessments

In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, care homes can now begin to  initiate their  own risk-assessments should they feel able to do so. This means care homes can determine and implement proportionate and risk-based outbreak measures relevant for the individual setting. As part of the updated guidance, care homes should:

  • Continue to inform the local health protection team (HPT) by e-mailing and of a suspected outbreak as per previous guidance, but updated guidance means you are no longer required to wait for advice from the HPT (or other relevant partner ) should you feel able to initiate a risk assessment independently
  • Follow updated guidance set-out in the  COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care – GOV.UK ( to establish if cases are linked and determine outbreak measures, if opting to initiate the risk assessment
  • Ensure any measures implemented are proportionate, risk-based and temporary
  • Continue to facilitate  visiting during an outbreak. In all circumstances, each resident should as a minimum be able to have one visitor at a time inside the care home, and end-of life visiting should always be supported
  • Ask for further support where necessary from the local HPT (or other local partner) if you  need further advice or if there are specific issues of concern.

Click here for the outbreak management process flowchart


PCR test disposal

If a care home is currently in outbreak, PCR recovery testing should not be undertaken as measures can now be lifted 5 days after the last confirmed or suspected case. However, care homes may be asked to undertake multi-pathogen swabs by an HPT if there are specific concerns. Existing in-date PCRs may be kept for this use in care homes. Otherwise, any excess or expired PCR test kits should be disposed of in a normal household waste bin, or by informing a local waste management company if there are multiple boxes.

Test kit expiry dates

 It has been brought to our attention that several test kits gave unreadable results.

To make sure you are using valid tests and minimise the chance of further void results, it is important to always note the expiry date and use tests in the order they were received. Dispose of any expired tests and those within one week of expiry. Any expired tests will be classed as void.

If you have any questions or doubts, please call the hub 01707 708108 /