Household members of key health and social care workers’ families are to be given priority testing for Covid-19 if they show symptoms.
It means that if household members test negative, the key worker can return to work immediately.
Currently, health and social care staff have to self-isolate for 14 days even if they are not showing any symptoms.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the move would have “the greatest impact in reducing working days lost”.
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She added: “It is essential that frontline health and social care staff can remain at work.
“To help to save lives, we must continue to prioritise testing in hospitals.
“All remaining capacity must be used to ensure that critical staff can return to work as soon as possible.”
How will this reduce the number of working days lost?
If, for example, a nurse is symptomatic and receives a negative test result three days after the onset of symptoms, the number of working days could be reduced by four. That is because they would not have to complete the full seven days of self-isolation.
If that nurse is in household isolation because their child has a fever and cough, they would normally be required to stay at home for 14 days. If the child is tested and receives a negative test result three days after symptom onset, the number of working days lost would be reduced by 11.
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