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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Managing and reporting COVID-19, Flu, or other Acute Respiratory Infections


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Reporting and managing COVID-19 cases

This page provides guidance and information on what adult social care providers need to do if they have a positive COVID-19 case in their setting. Unless it is otherwise specified, the guidance relates to all care settings.

This page includes information on the following:

  • How to report COVID-19 cases
  • Capacity tracker
  • Outbreak management guidance

How to report confirmed Covid-19, Flu, or other Acute Respiratory Infections

Due to its success, this Care OBRA Tool has been developed further to allow you to report ARI outbreaks directly online via a new web-based Care OBRA Tool without the need to call or email the HPT first,thus saving valuable time.

As of 22nd August 2023, care settings will enter information about their outbreak via this designated webpage: https://forms.ukhsa.gov.uk/ReportAnOutbreak

Aim of the New Care OBRA Tool

To allow adult social care settings to:

  • Report their outbreaks and single cases of flu without the need to ring or email the HPT beforehand.
  • Collect all the relevant information and enter it into an electronic platform at a time that suits them.
  • Receive a summary of the data entered in the Care OBRA Tool
  • Receive immediate email advice on how to manage their situation and automatically identify the higher risk situations.

To allow the HPT to:

  • Identify and prioritise incidents requiring specialist HPT input.
  • Focus on interventions that will achieve the greatest public health impact.
  • Provide local system partners with timely and accurate information.
  • efficiently.
  • Regulated Care Home providers must continue to update the Capacity Tracker
  • For staff members only: A RIDDOR report is required when a person at work (a worker) has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus through either deliberately working with the virus or being incidentally exposed to it. This must be reported as a case of disease due to exposure to a biological agent

Capacity tracker

The capacity tracker is a valuable tool in adult social care. The information provided goes towards significant updates to government policy in the areas of regulated care. Provider co-operation on completing the capacity tracker is appreciated. The data captured also helps:

  • Keep bed vacancy data up to date. If this data is captured daily, it avoids duplication of daily ring arounds by DDC’s discharge teams and supports effective discharges of patients from hospital.
  • Keep workforce data up to date to understand recruitment and retention challenges in the sector.
  • Record the number of staff and residents, known to have received the flu vaccine and COVID-19 seasonal booster/s.
  • Record of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in staff and residents to monitor prevalence of the virus.

If providers have any queries about any of the above, please contact the Capacity Tracker team: capacitytracker-guidance@dhsc.gov.uk or the Support Centre 01916913729 from 8.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays.

Updating the capacity tracker

Providers are recommended to update the tracker when a positive case(s) is identified.

Alex Arvidsson alex.arvidssonkafshi@nhs.net. is the current South West representative for the Capacity Tracker. He schedules introduction and refresher demos including Q&A sessions for care homes and home care providers (details will be posted in the PEN newsletter). These sessions provide an opportunity to update provider on the most recent changes in the Tracker and urgent messages from the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England.

Contact details

Comparing your figures with Devon’s

Providers can check their performance against aggregated Devon figures. To do this, select Reports/Overview/Comparative analysis. Providers can compare against local STP, CCG or the Local Authority.

Video ‘How To’ guides

There is a number of video guides on the capacity tracker available. To access, providers need to view the User Guide.

Outbreak testing guidance

To find out about testing during an outbreak please visit the COVID-19 testing page.

Outbreak control measures

An outbreak is defined as 2 or more positive or clinically suspected linked cases of Covid-19 within the same setting within a 5-day period, where transmission within the care setting was likely to have occurred.

The care home should undertake a risk assessment as soon as possible to determine if there is an outbreak and if control measures are needed. If an outbreak is identified control measures that care homes should consider, subject to decisions by relevant staff within the care home (with support from UKHSA if and when required) are:

  • proportionate reductions in communal activities.
  • proportionate reduction in admissions, which may include temporary closure to admissions.
  • restriction of movement of staff providing direct care, to avoid risk of outbreaks spreading between parts of settings e.g., wings
  • proportionate changes to visiting, however some forms of visiting should continue. One visitor at a time per resident should always be able to visit inside the care home. This number can be flexible in the case that the visitor requires accompaniment (for example if they require support, or for a parent accompanying a child). End-of-life visiting should always be supported.
  • increased frequency of cleaning (always recommended during outbreak).

Any measures that the care home chooses to implement must be proportionate, consider resident wellbeing, the care home’s legal obligations, and be risk-based. The care home manager should ensure staff, residents and their loved ones are informed of the outbreak and any relevant measures that have been implemented.

Additional measures may be advised by UKHSA if a variant of concern (VOC) or variant under investigation (VUI) is identified. In such situations UKHSA will contact the provider.

Outbreak measures can be lifted 5 days after the last suspected or confirmed case. This is from the date of the last positive test or the day the last resident become unwell, whichever is latest.

For further information, please click here for the https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/infection-prevention-and-control-in-adult-social-care-acute-respiratory-infection/infection-prevention-and-control-ipc-in-adult-social-care-acute-respiratory-infection-ari

Admissions during outbreak

Admissions are allowed:

  • Following a risk assessment undertaken by the Provider
  • All admissions from hospitals should have a Covid-19 LFT test within 48 hours before planned hospital discharge. If the result is positive then the patient can be admitted providing the care home is satisfied they can be cared for safely.
  • COVID-19 positive admissions or discharges should be kept away from other residents on arrival, the care home should follow the guidance on Care home residents who test positive. However, any isolation undertaken in an acute setting (hospital) can continue upon entering the home and does not need to restart upon admission Care home residents who test positive. However, any isolation undertaken in an acute setting (hospital) can continue upon entering the home and does not need to restart upon admission.
  • The swhpt@ukhsa.gov.uk can advise on admissions during outbreak.

Further guidance on admissions is available from COVID-19 Admission Guidance


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