Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in adult care homes

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Regular and outbreak COVID 19 testing is available to all adult care homes.

All Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered care homes can apply for regular COVID-19 testing from NHS Test and Trace. If a care home has an outbreak and does not have enough stock to last until their next routine order, place an additional order by calling 119.

Care homes use both rapid lateral flow test and PCR tests. Using both combines the rapid results of lateral flow testing with the higher sensitivity of PCR tests. Lateral flow tests will quickly identify some individuals who are highly infectious, enabling swift action to minimise spread of the virus, while the PCR test will identify those with a lower viral load, when the results are received.

New care home residents receive a PCR test when moving from hospital or from the community into a care home. We have published a service model for care homes testing individuals moving into a care home.

Testing is also available for care home visitors (when indoor close contact visits ar

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