Confirmatory PCR paused to ease workforce absence

Following a positive LFD, there will be no need for a confirmatory PCR apart from specific circumstances.

However, anyone who has symptoms should continue to take a PCR test and follow the self-isolation guidance.

This applies to social care staff as well as the general public.


Following a positive LFD, there will be no need for a confirmatory PCR apart from specific circumstances. However, anyone who has symptoms should continue to take a PCR test and follow the self-isolation guidance.

  • Test to release – sets out how a staff member who has had a positive LFD or PCR test result can end their 10-day isolation early. If they have negative LFD results on days 6+7 they can return to work (we are clarifying whether this is on day 7 or 8) but they must continue to take LFD tests for the remainder of the 10 days. If the staff member’s LFD test result continues to be positive on the 10th day, they should continue to take daily LFD tests and can return to work after a single negative LFD test result. If the staff member’s LFD test result is still positive on the 14th day, they can stop testing and return to work on day 15.

  • When does the self-isolation period begin? – Clarity has been added that the self-isolation period if you test positive begins from symptoms onset or from a positive result, whether that is from a PCR or LFD.

  • Testing within 90 days – Individuals who have received a positive PCR or LFD result should be exempt from routine PCR testing within 90 days apart from in certain circumstances. Therefore, they should continue with routine asymptomatic LFD testing during this 90-day period. Advice is also provided on how to handle positive cases within this period.

This guidance was further updated in answer to this question: Q. If a member of staff tests positive through LFT, do they continue with routine weekly (PCR) testing, or pause for 90 days? A.Asymptomatic staff, patients and residents who do not have severe immunosuppression, and who have previously tested positive for COVID by LFD OR PCR test should be exempt from routine testing by PCR test within 90 days from their initial illness onset or test date. So they should pause routine PCR testing for 90 days following a positive LFD.

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