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What to do if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and have not taken a COVID-19 test

If you have symptoms of a viral infection such as COVID-19, flu or sickness, and diarrhoea please do not attend your workplace. If you are well enough and your role allows, you can work from home.

If you cannot work from home but are well enough to work, please talk to your manager discuss the risk of spreading illness and whether any plans can be put in place to allow you to attend a workplace.

Health and social care staff, and those who work directly with vulnerable clients

Tested positive for COVID-19

All healthcare staff who have received a positive COVID-19 test result, regardless of whether they have symptoms, are advised not to attend work for 5 days. They should follow guidance for people with a positive COVID-19 test result.

Patient-facing healthcare staff can return to work when they have had 2 consecutive negative LFD test results (taken at least 24 hours apart).

The first LFD test should only be taken 5 days after the day their symptoms started (or the day their first positive test was taken if they did not have symptoms); this is described as day 0.

If both LFD tests results are negative, they may return to work immediately after the second negative LFD test result, provided they meet the following criteria:

  • the staff member feels well enough to work, and they do not have a high temperature
  • if the staff member works with patients whose immune system means that they are at higher risk of serious illness despite vaccination, a risk assessment should be undertaken, and consideration should be given to redeployment until 10 days after their symptoms started (or the day their first positive test was taken if they did not have symptoms)
  • the staff member must continue to comply rigorously with all relevant infection control precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn properly throughout the day

The staff member should resume twice-weekly asymptomatic LFD testing when returning to work.

If the day 5 LFD test is positive, they should continue to test daily until they have received 2 negative LFD test results, taken 24 hrs apart. If the staff member's LFD test result is positive on the 10th day, they should discuss this with their line manager who may undertake a risk assessment.

If a staff member is tested with an LFD test within 90 days of a prior positive COVID-19 test and the result is positive, they should follow the advice for staff members who have received a positive test result for COVID-19 again, unless a clinical or risk assessment suggests that a re-infection is unlikely. 

Other employees

If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, it is very likely that you have COVID-19 even if you do not have any symptoms. You can pass on the infection to others, even if you have no symptoms.

Many people with COVID-19 will no longer be infectious to others after 5 days. If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, do not attend work, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test.

During this period work from home if you can.

If after 5 days you are well, you can return to your normal workplace.

If after 5 days you still have a high temperature or still feel unwell, you should continue to work from home until you feel well enough to resume normal activities and you no longer have a temperature.