Isolate, Notify, Test: Our Outbreak Response

September 16th, 2020

As well as the physical measures in place, a key part of the University’s outbreak prevention and control plan involves early awareness of any symptoms and supporting our community to promptly and closely follow Government regulations.

Staff or students who experience any of the symptoms of COVID-19 should:

  • ISOLATEthemselves from others
  • NOTIFYthe University
  • book a TEST

You can find links to advice from the NHS and Government, the forms to notify the University as well as details of a new helpline for staff and students (in operation from Monday 21 September), at the main COVID-19 information pages.

If any student or colleague informs you they are worried they may have COVID-19, you should advise them to isolate themselves and their household, book a test through the NHS and use the relevant form on the University’s COVID-19 pages to let us know.

Government guidance for those who may have COVID-19 (you can find the most up-to-date guidance here) mandates that anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, or anyone who has received a positive test result, must self-isolate for at least 10 days and for as long as they still have a high temperature.

Students living in halls will have been allocated into ‘households’. In the event that one member of a staff or student household (whether in halls, private shared accommodation or other) experiences symptoms or has a positive Covid-19 test, all members of that household must self-isolate for at least 14 days.

Filling in the reporting form or doing so using the helpline sends an automated alert through to the relevant support teams. By letting us know, we can take prompt action to request any additional cleaning, notify household members and provide support. This also means we will have early awareness of possible and confirmed cases (it is unlikely that cases linked to the University will generate a prompt notification from the central NHS systems) and can put in place additional measures if needed.

If you think you may have COVID-19, you should book a free test through the NHS. If you drive, you will be directed to the NHS drive-in testing facility. For those who do not drive, the NHS will mail you a self-testing kit. For those living on campus, where the mail may take a little longer to arrive, we are exploring additional testing options, including the possibility of holding a small number of postal test kits on campus, to speed up the availability of tests. The University’s Testing Taskforce is also actively exploring enhanced testing for staff and students. More information is available here and will be shared as plans are developed.

Please note that due to the strain on the national pillar two testing people may have to wait several days for a result. We are aware of this but urge those waiting for results to continue isolating as per the guidance above.

What will be happening in the background?
When a student or member of staff notifies us online of a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19, various support measures are activated.

Support for self-isolating students in halls is led by their hall manager. This will ensure meals are taken to the student’s door, rooms are appropriately marked as ‘no entry’, and other household members are notified and supported to take appropriate measures.

Support for students self-isolating in private homes off-campus will be led by the Off-Campus Affairs team. Students will be provided with packages containing some essential items to support them through the first few days of isolating, including hand sanitiser, toilet rolls, sanitary products for female students, a small food parcel and any relevant guidance leaflets or materials.

The staff member or student will be asked to provide details of where they have been on campus and who they have been in contact with, in case additional cleaning or other measures are required. In the event of a positive test result, NHS Test and Trace have the responsibility to contact all those who have been in close contact with the individual, supported by the UoN Incident Management Team.

Is it my responsibility to tell my class/colleagues if someone has experienced symptoms?
Unless you have been asked to do so by the Incident Management Team, it is not your responsibility to share information about potential cases. Indeed, sharing partial or incorrect information without including the right advice and guidance could lead to unnecessary worry.

In the event of a positive case, all those who need to take action will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, supported by the Incident Management Team.

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