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Plans for Covid-19 testing in periods of low prevalence

By DTA | 1st September 2022 | News

Rebecca Harris, Deputy Dental Officer England and Ali Spark, Director for Dentistry, Community Pharmacy and Optometry write:

"The government has set out plans for COVID-19 testing in periods of low prevalence following advice from UKHSA. We have published a letter which sets out our approach to delivering UKHSA's advice in relation to staff and patient testing. Routine asymptomatic testing in a number of settings will pause from 31 August and the letter includes a list of scenarios where testing in the NHS should continue after this date. NHS organisations are asked to review their COVID-19 testing protocols in light of this new guidance, and implement changes as required.

It is no longer recommended that all public-facing health and social care staff should do a lateral flow test twice a week. However, local dental commissioners, with appropriate advice, may exercise local discretion to continue testing for specific individuals or cohorts in line with broader infection prevention and control measures.

Symptomatic testing will continue for both patients and staff, based on the current list of COVID-19 symptoms. Although the main symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, a new and continuous cough, anosmia (loss of smell) and ageusia (loss of taste), it is important to remember that COVID-19 can present as a wide range of other symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, myalgia (muscle ache), sore throat, headache, nasal congestion (stuffy nose), runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting."

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