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Pharmacy team members with Covid-19 symptoms should stay off work even if test is negative

By Isabel Shaw

15 May 2020

Pharmacy team members who have tested negative for coronavirus should continue to stay off work if they show symptoms, the NHS has confirmed.

An NHSE&I webinar held earlier this month, in which GPs were told to stay home if they continued to show symptoms after a negative test result.

This is because positive test results are not completely reliable and therefore could produce an inaccurate result.

However, they said that ‘most’ negative test results will be accurate.

The NHS also added that some people will produce false-negative results due to a poor swap sample or because the person is only ‘shedding’ the virus in their lungs, rather than nose and throat, where the swab is placed.

Since 20 April, community pharmacy staff in England have been able to be referred to be tested at these sites.

More recently in England, testing has been expanded further to include anyone who is symptomatic and over 65, cannot do their work from home, or anyone who is living with either of the previously mentioned.

There are now 48 regional drive-through testing sites across the UK and 50 mobile testing units across England.

The government met their test target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day across the UK on 1 May, however, the target was then missed for eight consecutive days following before being met again on 10 May.

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