Following the changes to Covid-19 self-isolation from 16th August 2021, on Wednesday 18th August the NHS Dentistry and Oral Health Update contained additional information regarding how this will affect healthcare workers.
Fully vaccinated team members who are identified as a contact of a positive Covid-19 case will no longer be required to self-isolate. However, if safeguards cannot be met, or if the team member has not had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, or they are living in the same household as a positive Covid-19 case, they should be asked not to come to work. There may be times when it is appropriate for the team member living with a positive Covid-19 case to return to work, in line with government guidance, in a risk-assessed way, but this should be through a process agreed with an appropriate senior decision maker for example the local Director of Public Health.
An additional letter has also been sent by the NHS to all NHS primary care dental contract holders which clarifies the following requirements:
- a negative PCR test prior to returning to their NHS workplace. Team members should not attend work while awaiting the PCR test result
- the team member has had two doses of an approved vaccine, and is at least 14 days post double vaccination at the point of exposure
- prior to their shift, provision of daily negative Lateral Flow Device tests for a minimum of 10 days following their last contact with the case (with test results reported to Test and Trace and to their line manager or an identified senior team member). Any team member who has a positive Lateral Flow Device test should self-isolate immediately and arrange a PCR test
- the team member is and remains asymptomatic
- continued use of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, in line with the current UK IPC guidance.
Practice risk assessments should take place to identify specific services that involve the care of immunocompromised patients. For these services, the Practice Principal should identify that returning team members are redeployed to other areas of lower risk where appropriate. We are currently in the process of updating our Fully Vaccinated Team Member Contact Checklist, Risk Assessment and LFD Log (C 111) to reflect this new guidance.
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