COVID Update: Self-Isolation Q&A Responses
I am aware that there is a need for some clarity following the decision to reduce the self-isolation period from 14 to 10 days, in particular how it applies in health and social care settings.
Following discussions between the four UK Chief Medical Officers, and with the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Nursing Officer and the National Clinical Director in Scotland, we have agreed the recommendations for isolation periods for clinical and social care settings. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has noted, and is content with these recommendations.
I am grateful to Public Health Scotland who are developing the guidance around this as required, as a matter of urgency.
In the meantime I have attached answers (below) to some of the queries that have been coming in which I hope will be helpful
SELF-ISOLATION Q&A RESPONSES
How long should the isolation period be for Health and Social Care Staff returning from non-exempt countries?
The isolation period for clinical staff, and other staff working in health and social care, who are returning from non-exempt countries, is 10 days. This is in line with the amended guidance from the Four Nations Chief Medical Officers that the period for isolation for most international travel should reduce to ten days. Travellers from exempt countries do not require to self-isolate, unless otherwise identified as a case or contact.
What is the evidence base for the ten day reduction?
When making their decision, the four UK CMOs have examined the absolute and relative risk associated with both 10 day and 14 day isolation. CMOs have outlined that the current proposal brings the UK into line with approaches recommended in guidance from other international organisations, such as the United States’ Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
What is the isolation period for patients, staff and close contacts who work in clinical environments such as hospitals?
CMO, CNO and NCD have considered this and recommend for inpatients in hospital, the guidance should continue to recommend isolation for 14 days.
For staff who work in a clinical setting the recommendation, taking into account discussions at the UK Senior Clinicians Group, is that they should isolate for 10 days in line with the general recommendations.
These recommendations will now be outlined in revised guidance to be published shortly by PHS.
How long should a resident or staff in a care home isolate as a contact of a case?
CMO, CNO and NCD have considered this and recommend that for residents in care homes, the guidance should continue to recommend isolation for 14 days.
For staff who work in a social care setting the recommendation, taking into account discussions at the UK Senior Clinicians Group, is that they should isolate for 10 days in line with the general recommendations.
The recommendations for staff will now be outlined in revised guidance to be published shortly by PHS.
When does the Isolation ‘countdown’ start – is the point of a positive test/symptoms day zero or day one, for the purposes of counting to ten?
The day when the individual either displays symptoms or receives a positive test is day one of the countdown.