New Variant Precautions - full update 8th June 2021
In Bristol there has been an uptick of COVID cases in schools, particularly primary schools, and a small number of the more infectious Delta Variant cases have been identified through Whole Genome Sequencing.
What has been apparent is that many of the younger children were asymptomatic and parental choice to LFD test has been a really helpful aid to early identification.
As we start a new term, Public Health England and BCC Public Health now recommend:
- Lateral flow testing at least twice weekly for staff and secondary age students.
- Lateral flow testing at least twice weekly for all members of families / households where children under age 11 live.
- Swift self-isolation and PCR testing for anyone with a positive LFD or any symptoms, including milder illness such as headache, sore throat / cold symptoms.
- Self-isolation of close contacts of suspected cases pending PCR results
In addition, as a targeted measure, they are also asking that, once a positive PCR result is received, all close contacts seek a PCR test. The close contact PCR test can be booked via the national portal by ticking the box to say that the person has been advised to take a test.
It is important to note that even if a close contact receives a negative PCR they must still complete the 10 day self-isolation period linked to the original case.
Staff members and parents/carers need to be ready and willing to:
- Make sure that their household take twice-weekly Lateral Flow tests. These are free and readily available. See the NHS website HERE for details.
- Isolate the household and book a PCR test if they or their child are displaying symptoms. The main symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and/or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste but the advice has now been extended to include milder, cold-type symptoms and stomach ache associated with sore throat / headache. Staff and pupils must not come into the school if they have symptoms and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school. All children can be tested if they have symptoms, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents or carers if using a home testing kit.
- Provide details of anyone they or their child have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for COVID-19 or if asked by NHS Test and Trace.
- Self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, and whilst if anyone in their household is waiting for PCR test results.