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Rules change from today for nurses testing positive in lateral flow tests for COVID-19

Asymptomatic nurses won’t need PCR test in move to ease staff absences, free lab capacity
Picture of a medic holding a lateral flow test cartridge showing a positive result

Asymptomatic nurses won’t need PCR test in move to ease staff absences, free lab capacity

From today asymptomatic nurses who test positive with a lateral flow test will not be required to take a PCR test.

It is hoped the rule change will go some way to tackling rising staff absences due to COVID-19 , which topped 40,000 in England at the end of December, up 62% from 21 December.

The move is also aimed at freeing up capacity in laboratories for PCR tests for those who have COVID-19 symptoms. Under the changes anyone who tests positive in a lateral flow test

Asymptomatic nurses won’t need PCR test in move to ease staff absences, free lab capacity

Picture of a medic holding a lateral flow test cartridge showing a positive result
A lateral flow test cartridge showing a positive result Picture: Science Photo Library

From today asymptomatic nurses who test positive with a lateral flow test will not be required to take a PCR test.

It is hoped the rule change will go some way to tackling rising staff absences due to COVID-19, which topped 40,000 in England at the end of December, up 62% from 21 December.

The move is also aimed at freeing up capacity in laboratories for PCR tests for those who have COVID-19 symptoms. Under the changes anyone who tests positive in a lateral flow test but has no symptoms will begin self-isolating right away for at least seven days, rather than waiting for confirmation from a PCR test.

Before today anyone who tested positive in a lateral flow test would only begin counting their isolation period from when they received a PCR result, which currently can be delayed due to high demand.

If a lateral flow test is positive you should self-isolate and register your result to allow contact tracing

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. Chief executive Jenny Harries said: ‘This is a tried and tested approach. With covid cases high, we can confidently say lateral flow tests can be used to indicate COVID-19 without the need for PCR confirmation.

‘If you test positive on a lateral flow test you should self-isolate immediately and register your result to allow contact tracing to take place.’

Exceptions to the new rules include people who want to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment, those who are taking lateral flow tests as part of research and those who have a positive day two test result after they arrive in England.


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