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Latest Covid-19 updates and guidance

Latest Covid-19 guidance and FAQs

Throughout the pandemic, the HR team have continually updated our list of FAQs for staff to reflect the ever-evolving advice and guidance.

Employees are reminded that:

Covid-19 Absence

Absences relating to COVID will be recorded as normal sickness absence. Read more in the updated Covid-19 FAQs here. It is also important that managers ensure timeous notification of employees return to work.

Be in the know: Current public health advice

Public health advice has now changed to a ‘stay at home’ message replacing self-isolation and testing for people who have symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19. People who have symptoms of Covid-19 and who have a fever or are too unwell to carry out normal activities will be asked to ‘stay at home’ while they are unwell or have a fever. They will no longer be advised to take a PCR test.

Testing for the general population has now ended and local test sites for the general public have closed. Testing will however remain available to certain groups in order to protect high risk settings, support clinical care and for surveillance purposes. Those groups include health and social care workers, care home and hospital visitors, patients groups eligible for treatment, hospital patients, unpaid carers and people in prison.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, stay at home and follow the latest guidance on NHS Inform.

Long Covid guidance 

The Council recognises the long-lasting impacts that Covid-19 can have on employees health and that additional supports may be required to be put in place to assist the employee upon their return to work.

As such, the HR team, alongside Trade Union colleagues have created a guide to assist line managers and employees in their return and provide further information on Long Covid and the supports that can be put in place for employees. Read the guide here. If you have any questions, please contact the HR Operations Team:

Protect yourself with the
Covid-19 vaccine

We are reminding staff of the importance of protecting yourself by getting the Covid-19 vaccine and booster. This is the best way to protect yourself and others. While uptake in Ayrshire and Arran has been very high, some people still choose not to come forward when invited for the Covid-19 vaccine. This may be for a number of reasons, perhaps fuelled by the significant amount of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine circulating online and disseminated via private WhatsApp groups.

It is important to get your information on the vaccine from a trusted source, like the NHS or World Health Organisation. Please watch the video below for more information about what the vaccine does and doesn’t do, created by NHS Inform. Visit the vaccine section of the NHS Inform website to find out more.

Asymptomatic testing for Health and Social Care Staff (updated 7 October)

The guidance for asymptomatic Covid-19 testing for health and social care staff and patients has now changed.

Testing of asymptomatic patient-facing health and social care staff has ceased, including those staff working in high-risk areas, unless otherwise directed as part of the management of an ongoing outbreak. This brings patient-facing staff in line with non-patient-facing staff.

It also means that testing is no longer required for asymptomatic patients on admission or before transfer to a ward. The only exceptions are patients requiring admission or transfer to high-risk areas, which are ward 2F (Renal HDU) and 3A (Oncology) at University Hospital Crosshouse.

A Stop Press bulletin has now been published, giving more information about what this means for you and your patients.

Winter Vaccine Programme for Health and Social Care Staff (updated 7 October)

The winter vaccine programme is now under way and frontline Health and Social Care staff – as well as non-frontline staff in eligible groups – are being offered their seasonal flu and COVID-19 booster vaccinations. A Stop Press bulletin with details regarding who is eligible and how to book is available to read online.

Please note that if your pathway to vaccination is via the Mass Vaccination Centres, there continues to be appointments specifically for Health and Social Care staff at local clinics. Book online via the national online booking portal.

Clinics are running at the locations listed below:

  • Saturday 8 October: Ayr Racecourse
  • Saturday 8 October: Logan Community Centre
  • Sunday 9 October: Grand Hall, Kilmarnock
  • Sunday 9 October: Patna Primary School
  • Sunday 9 October: Drongan Community Centre
  • Monday 10 October: Greenwood Resource Centre, Dreghorn
  • Tuesday 11 October: Grand Hall, Kilmarnock
  • Wednesday 12 October: Grand Hall, Kilmarnock
  • Saturday 15 October: Dalmellington Community Centre
  • Sunday 16 October: Greenwood Resource Centre, Dreghorn

Please select the location most convenient to you on the portal to book your winter vaccination slot. Please note, whilst our clinics for eligible citizens remain very busy, the above clinics are not offering drop-in vaccinations.

Winter booster information

The winter vaccine programme is now under way and frontline Health and Social Care staff – as well as non-frontline staff in eligible groups – are being offered their seasonal flu and COVID-19 booster vaccinations. Details regarding who is eligible and how to book is available in the online bulletin update.

And Finally…

If you’re visiting a hospital or care home, please take a lateral flow test first to help protect others. You can get your free LFD test ahead of your visit by ordering online or calling 119. Find out more at NHS Inform.

Read below for more information on the latest guidance, how the Council is supporting colleagues with Long Covid, more on the Distance Aware scheme, a useful video about the Covid-19 vaccine and all the info you need on lateral flow and PCR tests.

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