Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are working closely with our NHS colleagues, and other public sector organisations to ensure that the people of Doncaster remain well informed.

Guidance

The Government has announced the next step in its COVID strategy:
 
  • Free testing for the general public ends after 31 March. People at risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and eligible for treatments, will continue to get free tests to use if they develop symptoms, along with NHS and adult social care staff and those in other high-risk settings. Find more on testing via the government's testing webpage.
  • Spring boosters vaccinations are being offered to the elderly, care home residents and the most vulnerable. Find more on Spring Booster jabs via the government's vaccination webpage.
  • While restrictions are now removed, and most testing reduced, the pandemic is not over. We continue to follow the updated public health guidance to protect themselves and others, particularly those who may become seriously ill if infected with COVID-19.
  • There is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive with an LFD or PCR. However, we strongly advise everybody to stay at home and avoid contact with others if you test positive or have symptoms.   
Please continue to follow the latest government guidance.

To find Covid advice and guidance for the Yorkshire and Humber area, visit Covid Explained.

FAQ's

Will all testing end April 1?

Most free testing will end on 1 April. 

There are three reasons for testing: for surveillance (to monitor the virus); for clinical pathways (to guide treatment); and to control spread, as and when the surveillance shows we need to. As we go back to normal life transmission risk increases but fortunately, we have high vaccine protection amongst the general public and the option to deploy contingent capabilities at pace, if required. 

Going back to normal life means testing will be scaled back in line with the reduced risk from COVID-19. 

From 1 April, the universal symptomatic testing offer in England will end. Free symptomatic testing will continue only for certain groups. These are: 

  • patients in hospital, for whom a test is required for clinical management or to support treatment pathways; 
  • individuals whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, who are eligible for antiviral medication or other treatments. People in this group will be contacted directly and automatically be sent tests for use when they have COVID-19 symptoms; we previously ran a priority Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) service for this group which will change to a lateral flow test-service.
  • individuals who live or work in high-risk settings, for example staff and residents of care homes, hospitals and hospices, NHS services and prisons and places of detention, as they work or live-in settings where infection needs to be identified quickly to minimise outbreaks.

Symptomatic testing will continue to be provided to: 

  • NHS patients who require testing as part of established clinical pathways or those eligible for COVID-19 treatments
  • NHS staff and staff in NHS-funded Independent Healthcare Provision
  • Staff and residents in Adult Social Care services and Hospices
  • Staff and detainees in Prisons and other Places of Detention

During periods of higher prevalence, asymptomatic testing will continue to be available to: 

  • Staff in Adult Social Care Services and Hospices 
  • Patient-facing staff in the NHS and NHS-funded Independent Healthcare Provision
  • Elective care patients prior to admission
  • Some staff in Prisons and other Places of Detention (including Immigration Removal Centres)
  • SEND residential schools only when advised by Local Health Protection teams as part of an outbreak response.
  • Asymptomatic testing will also be available year-round for outbreaks in high-risk settings and for both discharge to and admissions to Adult Social Care services and Hospices.

Find out more via the Government's covid-19 testing page.

 How do people know how long they must isolate for if they cannot access testing?

There is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate.  From 1 April, those with symptoms who have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities will be advised to: 

  • Try to stay at home, avoid contact with other people and try not to attend work;
  • avoid close contact with anyone who they know is at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell if infected with COVID-19 and other respiratory infections; and,
  • resume normal activities once they feel well enough to do so and no longer have a high temperature if they had one. 

 How do those who are eligible access testing from April 1?

Symptomatic testing:

Free tests for people who have COVID-19 symptoms will continue to be provided to the following groups, largely via the existing channels:

  • NHS patients in hospital, who will be tested via the established NHS testing programme
  • those eligible for COVID-19 antiviral and other treatments, who will be sent a pack of tests and can request replacements if they need them
  • NHS staff and staff working in NHS-funded independent healthcare provision – the current lateral flow test ordering portal will remain available for this group to order their own tests
  • adult social care staff in care homes, homecare organisations, extra care and supported living settings and adult day care centres, as well as residents in care homes and extra care and supported living settings via the established organisation ordering portal
  • adult social care social workers, personal assistants, Shared Lives carers and CQC inspectors will be able to order tests from the current online lateral flow ordering system
  • staff and patients in hospices will be supplied tests by the hospice
  • staff and detainees in prisons and other places of detention will be supplied tests by the detention premises as currently happens
  • staff and detainees in immigration removal centres will be supplied tests, as currently happens, by the organisation concerned
  • staff and users of high-risk domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings

Asymptomatic testing:

Free tests for people who have COVID-19 symptoms will continue to be provided to the following groups, largely via the existing channels:

  • NHS patients in hospital, who will be tested via the established NHS testing programme
  • those eligible for COVID-19 antiviral and other treatments, who will be sent a pack of tests and can request replacements if they need them
  • NHS staff and staff working in NHS-funded independent healthcare provision – the current lateral flow test ordering portal will remain available for this group to order their own tests
  • adult social care staff in care homes, homecare organisations, extra care and supported living settings and adult day care centres, as well as residents in care homes and extra care and supported living settings via the established organisation ordering portal
  • adult social care social workers, personal assistants, Shared Lives carers and CQC inspectors will be able to order tests from the current online lateral flow ordering system
  • staff and patients in hospices will be supplied tests by the hospice
  • staff and detainees in prisons and other places of detention will be supplied tests by by the detention premises as currently happens
  • staff and detainees in immigration removal centres will be supplied tests, as currently happens, by the organisation concerned
  • staff and users of high-risk domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings

Visitors to high-risk settings

Most visitors to adult social care settings, the NHS, hospices, prisons or places of detention will no longer require a test. Tests will continue to be provided to a small number of visitors to care homes and hospices who will be providing personal care.

Visits by people with symptoms may still be allowed in exceptional circumstances, such as end of life visits. Please contact someone responsible at the setting prior to visiting in these circumstances.

If you wish to test yourself, lateral flow tests will continue to be available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets, including online.

It is vital that everyone continues to follow the simple steps to keep themselves and others safe.

 Cases and numbers of patients in hospital are still high. Why are restrictions being removed? 

The success of the COVID-19 vaccination and booster rollout, and the availability of antivirals, has meant that there is a much lower risk of severe illness or hospitalisation. 

In the general population, and particularly in those at highest risk of serious illness or death, we have reached a stage of high levels of both natural and vaccine induced immunity leading to relatively mild disease in most people and some protection against long covid. For those unable to mount a full immune response, testing pathways to evidence based effective COVID-19 treatments are available and will be retained. 

 What happens if/ when there is a new variant? 

UKHSA has maintained a range of contingency arrangements that would be deployed in the event of a dangerous variant of concern. Guidance on safer behaviours and other measures would be revisited where necessary.  

 Does this mean that the pandemic is over?

No, we all still need to behave cautiously. As behaviours return to normal transmission is very likely to increase. 

The success of the COVID-19 vaccination and booster rollout, and the availability of antivirals, has meant that there is a much lower risk of severe illness or hospitalisation. 

New guidance will advise how we can all live safely with COVID-19, and sensible measures for anyone with symptoms to avoid spreading to family, colleagues, or others, as they would if they contracted any other infectious disease. 

Vaccination

For information on the Booster Vaccination visit Doncaster CCG's COVID-19 Vaccination Booster Programme page.

Testing

Free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public ended on 30 March 2022. Find out who is still eligible for free testing and where you can access it via the government's testing webpage.

 

To choose a different language please use the Translate link Translate button at top of website at the top of this website. We have also created a webpage with easy read and other language guides including British Sign Language (BSL) resources all about Coronavirus.

 

Last updated: 22 June 2022 10:05:59