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Introduction

This is a summary of testing priorities for the next phase as we look ahead to Autumn.

This table covers testing beyond:

  • Symptomatic RT-PCR (virus detection) testing, which is already in widespread use across Wales.
  • Asymptomatic RT-PCT (virus detection) testing used in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak to support contact tracing and control the spread.

Tracing

Category

Sub-category

Nature of testing

Usage

Purpose

Managing outbreaks or increased transmission spikes

  • Closed Setting
  • Vulnerable Groups
  • Local Communities
Asymptomatic RT-PCR (virus detection) testing When required
  • To minimise transmission across the wider community.
  • To safeguard business continuity.

 

Health and care services

Category

Sub-category

Nature of testing

Usage

Purpose

Hospital patients

  • Emergency
    admissions
  • Elective
    admissions
    (including day
    surgery)
  • Outpatients / diagnostic
    interventions
  • Discharge
Asymptomatic
RT-PCR (virus
detection) testing
On-going
  • To build in safeguards through testing to minimise the risk for patients.
  • To diagnose COVID-19 to help with treatment and care.

NHS staff

  • Healthcare
    workers

Asymptomatic
RT-PCR (virus
detection) testing

Where additional available NHS testing capacity allows

  • To protect and maintain a safe working environment for our NHS staff
  • For infection prevention and control measures.
  • To safeguard business continuity.
    Antibody testing On-going
  • For health surveillance and to understand the spread of the disease within healthcare settings

Health and care staff (in the community)

  • Primary care
    (incl. GPs, Dental
    Surgeries and
    Pharmacies).
Asymptomatic
RT-PCR (virus
detection) testing
Pilot amongst an agreed
cluster
  • To utilise findings in the initial phase to consider a future testing approach.
    Antibody testing Ongoing
  • For health surveillance and to understand the spread of the disease within healthcare settings in the community.

 

Vulnerable groups and closed settings

Category Sub-category Nature of testing Usage Purpose
Care homes
  • Care home staff
Asymptomatic
RT-PCR (virus
detection) testing
Fortnightly cycle (to be reviewed in October)
  • Based on the data a review of the policy of weekly testing of care home staff data was undertaken on 10 August, and as prevalence remains low, testing has been reduced to every 2 weeks. If there are higher prevalence rates in some areas of Wales then the frequency of the testing will be increased.
  • Target outbreak hot spot areas. This could include deploying mobile testing units to test all residents in care homes where an outbreak occurs to support contact tracing and the spread of the disease.
    Antibody testing To be determined
  • Develop the use of antibody tests with care homes to support surveillance activity and to further understand the transmission of infection in care home settings.
Education settings
  • All education
    workers (including
    support staff
    working in these
    settings)
Antibody testing Extending current sampling programme
  • Build on the current testing programme to include a wider sample once schools re-open in September. The purpose of this sampling programme is to support surveillance activity and to understand the prevalence of the virus in education settings.

 

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