COVID-19 - Cases in businesses

If you are an employer, the information below tells you what you should do if anyone in your workplace develops symptoms of COVID-19.

What to do if an employee develops symptoms

If an employee develops symptoms, they should complete a test as soon as possible. Their contacts in the workplace do not need to go into self-isolation at this point. They can find out more about booking a test on the NHS website.

What to do if an employee tests positive (a case)

Please contact the Swindon Public Health team’s COVID-19 Response Team by email if a single positive case is identified: The team can provide advice and guidance on what you should do, specific to your work location.

When should a business contact the PHE South West health protection team for support?

You should contact the PHE South West health protection team if:

  • the number of cases in your business exceeds five within 14 days
  • you think you might need to close because of the number of people affected
  • somebody from your workplace has been admitted to hospital
  • you are getting significant interest from local media

If you are unsure whether you need to contact the South West health protection team, you can contact the Swindon COVID-19 Response Team for advice:

What is meant by a contact?

A contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. You can be a contact any time from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms (or, if they did not have any symptoms, from 2 days before the date their positive test was taken), and up to 10 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others. A risk assessment may be undertaken to determine this, but a contact can be:

  • anyone who lives in the same household as another person who has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19
  • anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:
    • face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
    • been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)

A person may also be a close contact if they have travelled in the same vehicle or plane as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

An interaction through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is not usually considered to be a contact, as long as there has been no other contact such as those in the list above.

What should contacts do?

Contacts who do not have symptoms should self-isolate for 10 days and follow the NHS Test and Trace guidance for contacts. Self-isolating means that you must not leave the house, even to buy food or other essentials, and any exercise must be taken within the home. People in a contact’s household or bubble do not need to self-isolate unless the contact or any household members develop symptoms.

Contacts who do not have symptoms should also book a test. The test only tells you your positive/negative test for a single point in time, and it can take up to 10 days for COVID-19 symptoms to appear. This means you must self-isolate for the full 10 days. If you develop symptoms at any point you should take a further test.

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