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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Testing (COVID-19)

Last Updated 9:00am, 10 July 2020


If you have any specific issues or questions that you would like to raise with us please do so as follows:

Care Homes guidance on Randox test kits

Very clear national guidance has been issued for care homes on the process to follow and the correct use of Randox  test kits.

Antibody testing: social care staff in phase 2

Although antibody (serology) testing is now being offered to NHS staff, social care staff will be included in phase 2 of antibody testing and will be made available when national guidance for this phase is issued.

In the meantime, in relation to antibody testing, please note that:

  • The antibody test is a venous blood test
  • A positive test result only means than an individual has had COVID-19 in the past
  • It does not mean you are currently infected, so you should continue to work as normal
  • Even if you receive a positive test, you still have to follow all social distancing and infection control measures

There is currently no evidence to show that a positive test means someone cannot be re-infected with the virus or pass it on to others, or have immunity.
The test is only available to staff, not family members.

The antibody testing programme will provide information on the prevalence of COVID-19 in the peninsula to help better understand how the disease spreads.
It works alongside the swab testing programme, which confirms whether or not someone currently has the virus.

National testing announcement on 6 July

The government has announced new national testing developments, including:

  • changes to outbreak management processes for care homes, including rapid testing for care homes with outbreaks
  • regular ‘re-testing’ of asymptomatic staff and residents in care home for older people and dementia, including how care homes can register
  • future plans for testing in extra care housing, supported living and domiciliary care settings

Care homes for the over 65s and for those with dementia will be prioritised and are able to request retesting via this digital portal.
Domiciliary care providers wishing to find out more about testing can now call the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre on 0300 303 2713, open from 7am to 11pm.
Read the national circular describing these arrangements.

Test and Trace: response to provider queries

Guidance on the national Test and Trace service was published on 27th May 2020.

Since then, we have received a number of enquiries from providers raising concerns at the potential impact on the availability of staff in their settings given the potential for self-isolation.

Please note this published guidance signposts to separate guidance for health and care workers on testing which was updated on 31st May 2020. This followed publication of a letter from Ros Roughton, Director General of Social Care at DHSC, which outlined how the test and trace guidance about isolating after ‘close contact’ with someone with symptoms or COVID-19, would apply to care settings.

This specifies that the process for such staff is different depending on whether the contact was made in the community or in a health and care work setting.

In the former case, the guidance applies as it does to any other person – refer to the Test and Trace guidance.

In the latter case, if the contact occurred when the staff member was wearing appropriate PPE for the setting and activity, no further action is usually required.

If appropriate PPE was not being used, or there was a breach in the PPE, then this should be reported to the person’s line manager who is asked to carry out a risk assessment as detailed in section 4 of the guidance.

This puts further emphasis on the correct usage of PPE appropriate to the activity and setting. It also puts emphasis on the importance of social distancing when not wearing PPE in the work setting including in staff rooms when taking breaks. And also in doing all we can to limit the number of staff working in a setting and contact between them as outlined in the recently updated guidance on infection prevention and control.

The national Test and Trace service is new and its implementation is still being worked through. We are seeking further clarification for its application in health and care settings and colleagues should check the national guidance for updates if and when such incidents occur.

A Suspected Outbreak in your Care Home?

If you think your care home has a coronavirus outbreak but no one has been tested yet, contact your Local Health Protection Team. They will carry out the first tests.

To contact your Local Health Protection Team please phone: 0300 303 8162.

Listen to the first menu, but press nothing – You are automatically sent to your local PHE call centre (for us South West)

  • You hear a new menu – press option 1
  • There is further menu – press option 1

Testing for all care homes

All care homes can now apply for coronavirus testing kits to test residents and staff, regardless of whether or not anyone has coronavirus symptoms via the National Testing Portal.

You will need:

  • your care home’s CQC location ID
  • your total number of residents, including (if any) the number of residents with coronavirus symptoms
  • your total number of staff, including agency staff
  • your contact details

Capacity for testing via the National Testing Portall has been substantially increased and we are strongly encouraging eligible providers to register as a matter of priority.

Please note if you ‘cut and paste’ your CQC ID number from the CQC website into the portal it may accept it if typing it in does not work.  If you continue to experience difficulties please let us know via at

Local Coordination Centres

There are a number of options available to obtain a Covid-19 test for care staff and residents in Devon.

There are 3 local coordination centres in Devon to support your access to the acute hospitals testing facilities. The referral routes are listed below.

Please note that NHS staffing forms and NHS email contacts are currently in use. These will be updated for the care sector in due course, but for now, please use them.

Northern & Eastern Coordination Centre

To complete the online form, click this link: Online Referral Form

South Devon & Torbay Coordination Centre

To book a testing appointment email:

Plymouth, West Devon & East Cornwall Coordination Centre

To book a testing appointment email:

These testing routes include options to test asymptomatic care staff/residents and domiciliary care agencies in the event of an outbreak and will also arrange testing for people awaiting admission to a care home.

If you need to refer multiple people for testing, please email: in the first instance, to discuss your requirements.

Each coordination centre will be able to discuss your options for obtaining a COVID-19 test, these options include attending a local testing site.

New National Care Home Portal

Care Home Managers can now apply for coronavirus testing kits to test the residents and staff of a care home.

You can apply whether or not any of your residents or staff are symptomatic or asymptomatic.

Full swabbing guidance and information on how to apply via the National Care Home Portal is available.

National Self-Referral Portal

A test can be applied for via this portal if you are an essential worker with coronavirus symptoms.

If you meet the eligibility criteria listed in the portal you can attend one of the following drive-through testing sites in Devon, run by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

  • Seaton Barracks, William Prance Road, Plymouth PL6 5ZD
  • Honiton Road Park and Ride, 15 Moor Lane, Exeter EX2 7NL
  • Or you can request a Home Testing Kit

A number of pop up mobile testing sites are available.

Swabbing guidance

Public Health have produced guidance on the use of swabs.

Ongoing Support

We are here to support you with your questions and/or queries relating to testing.

Please contact this mailbox in the first instance:

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