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Self-isolation for social care colleagues

Self-isolation guidance for social care colleagues following contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.


The rules around employees self-isolating if they are a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case have now changed. The following principles apply to colleagues and students working in social care establishments or roles only.

Please remember that if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 you must self-isolate immediately and arrange for a PCR test.

Colleagues who live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

If someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, you should stay at home and notify your line manager. This applies even if you've had both does of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Whilst these colleagues are not legally required to isolate, you should limit close contact with other people outside your household and you should refrain from attending work for 10 days.

Fully vaccinated colleagues

If you're notified that you're a contact of a COVID-19 case you're not required to self-isolate if:

  • you're fully vaccinated and had your second dose at least 14 days prior to contact with a COVID-19 case, and
  • you do not live with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19

However, you must arrange a PCR test and inform your line manager if you are due to work within 10 days of contact with someone who has tested positive.

If your PCR test result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days.

If your PCR test result is negative but you work with any clients or colleagues who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, you should take a lateral flow test every day for 10 days and report the results to Test and Trace via the web portal and to your line manager. The test must be taken before starting work. If it's negative, you should attend your workplace with the following restrictions:

  • an individual risk assessment must be carried out
  • you must not provide direct clinical care to clients who are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • the workplace should be reconfigured to protect colleagues who are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • you must comply with all relevant infection control precautions and PPE must be worn properly throughout the day

If you do not work with clinically extremely vulnerable clients or colleagues you can return to your workplace without restrictions but you should take a lateral flow test every day for 10 days and report the results to Test and Trace via the web portal and to your line manager. You must take the test before you are due to start work and only attend the workplace if the result is negative. You must comply with all relevant infection control precautions and PPE must be worn properly throughout the day. A robust local monitoring process should be in place to monitor employee testing.

Vaccinated colleagues who have tested positive within the last 90 days

If you've been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you tested positive within the previous 90 days (and completed your 10 day isolation) you'll need to take daily lateral flow tests for 10 days following that contact.

You can continue to attend your place of work but you'll be deployed to a lower risk service or area.

You should take your lateral flow test before you are due to attend work and only attend if it is negative. If your lateral flow test is positive, you must self-isolate, book a PCR test and notify your line manager.

Unvaccinated colleagues

If you're identified as having had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you've not had 2 doses of the vaccine you must self-isolate in line with government guidance unless you are under 18 years old. This also applies if your second dose of the vaccine was given less than 14 days before the positive contact.

You must not attend a workplace and should inform your line manager.