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Originator: CMO Messaging

From: Professor Keith Willett

Issue date: 13-Mar-2020 21:42:12

This alert has been issued to:
  • NHS Regional Offices
  • NHS Foundation Trusts (England) - Medical Director
  • NHS Foundation Trusts (England) - Chief Executive
  • NHS Trusts (England) - Medical Director
  • NHS Trusts (England) - Chief Executive

  • Other contacts
  • Independent Healthcare Providers (registered with CAS)
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Social Care Providers (registered with CAS)
  • CMO Urgent Messages - Non-NHS Recipients on Public Health Link
  • Territorial CMOs in Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales
  • Regional Directors of Public Health
  • Consultants in Communicable Diseases
  • CMO Urgent Messages - Recipients on Public Health Link
  • Director of Public Health
  • GP - Locum
  • NHS 111 and Out of hours providers
  • GP Practices
  • Out of hours contacts
  • Primary Care Networks

Action category: Important information for immediate action

Title: Novel Coronavirus - 13 March - Community Swabbing services

Broadcast content: The Government last night announced the move to the delay phase in handling of the COVID19 pandemic. Individuals who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 from today are to self-isolate (stay at home) and do not require swab samples to be taken and tested for coronavirus. This will result in a significant reduction in the swab sample collection requirement in the community. 

There may still be some individuals who require swabs to be taken and we have yet to finalise the plans for testing workers that support the critical national infrastructure including NHS staff. Although it is appropriate to pause activity in the community home swabbing services, hospital pods and drive thru swabbing facilities these services should not be taken down; the capability should be retained until further guidance is issued.

For individuals who have already had their swabs taken under the previous case definition we are obliged to complete the test and to ensure that they receive the results as that may still change our advice to them. 

Please act on this new direction with immediate effect.

Additional information: NHS England and Improvement Regional Offices: please cascade to Community Pharmacy, Dental, Optometry and any GP Practices not registered with CAS for their information.

Alert reference: CEM/CMO/2020/009

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