New Guidance for Self-Isolation
New Guidance for Self-Isolation
Recently the government has updated their guidance to reflect the new rules announced regarding self-isolation for those in contact with a positive case of Covid-19.
What are the rules of Self-Isolation?
The new rules that have recently came into place are in an aim to create a less tumultuous workplace for employers and employees. These rules allow for certain people that meet the criteria to avoid a self-isolation period after contact with a positive case.
To avoid a self-isolation period any of the following must apply:
- Have both doses of Covid-19 vaccine over two weeks before exposure
- Below 18 years 6 months
- Not able to receive vaccine due to medical reasons
- Taken part in or currently involved in a vaccine trial
Those that are no longer required to self-isolate are advised to take a PCR test as soon as they possibly can to ensure they are also not carrying Covid-19, however this is not a legal requirement and therefore does not have to be completed for an employee to enter the workplace. During the time where an employee is waiting for the results of the PCR test, they are also not required to isolate whilst waiting for the results.
Those who do not meet the criteria are expected to isolate for 10 days from the day following the household member’s symptoms started, or if there is no symptoms, from the day following the positive test result. If the contact was with an individual outside of the household, the requirements are to isolate for 10 days from when the contact was made with the positive individual.
In addition to these, there has been no change to the requirements for those who show symptoms or test positive. These individuals are expected to isolate immediately for the full isolation period even if they have received both vaccinations.
What is considered a contact?
A contact is considered to be when a person has been within close proximity to another individual that has tested positive for Covid-19 any time from 2 days before person who tested positive showed symptoms or took the positive test and up to 10 days after.
The interaction is considered a contact if any of the following took place involving the individual that tested positive:
- Face-to-face contact with positive case, includes having face-to-face conversation within 1 metre, or being coughed on.
- Having been within 1 metre for more than 1 minute or longer without face to face contact
- Having been within 2 metres of an individual who tested positive for more than 15 minutes, either as a one off interaction or smaller combined interactions throughout the day
- Travelled in the same vehicle or plane as a positive testing individual
An interaction through Perspex or equivalent protective equipment is not considered to be contact, as long as there was no other contact that falls under any category previously stated in the list above.
Advice for those fully vaccinated
The government has offered advice for those who have received both vaccinations and been in contact with an individual that is displaying symptoms o as tested positive for Covid-19. These are the following:
- Ensure a PCR test is completed at the earliest convenience
- Limit close contact with those outside of the individuals own household
- Limit contact with those who are clinically vulnerable
- Take part in regular LFD testing to ensure a delayed positive result can be found
- Ensure the correct procedures are followed for 10 days after positive test, first display of symptoms or contact with positive testing individual
Steps for employers
It is advisable for employers to ensure the workforce are updated on the new rules regarding self-isolation.
Employers may choose to ask employees to inform them if the employee has been in relevant contact with a positive individual but do not need to isolate. This would be a beneficial for the company if the employer decides to implement a requirement of a negative PCR test after contact, despite this not being a legal requirement for those with relevant contact.
Another decision employers may choose to take is ensuring they know the vaccination status of all employees in order to know in advance which employees would be required to self-isolate after a relevant contact and which employees are eligible to avoid isolation periods.
When addressing the workforce about the changes within the organisations due to the changes in government guidance, it could be a good opportunity to remind employees on the rules and advice around self-isolation within the organisations if an employee displays symptoms or tests positive whilst in the workplace.
If you have any concerns or would like to discuss the topics within this article further, please get in contact with the HPC team today.
T: 0844 800 5932