First Minister Mark Drakeford has asked people to keep taking steps to protect each other and keep Wales safe from the wave of Omicron cases. Unfortunately, cases of coronavirus have risen sharply to their highest ever levels as the Omicron wave has surged across Wales in the post-Christmas period. Although the Omicron variant may not be as severe as initially feared but the speed at which it is travelling and its infectiousness continue to be cause for concern. For this reason, the Welsh Government will be extending the alert level 2 for at least the next 10-14 days.
The Welsh Government has announced that in alert level 2 people must:
- Wear a face covering (unless there is a reasonable excuse not to wear one) in all indoor public places, including when not seated in a pub, café or restaurant.
- Meet no more than five other people at a café, restaurant, pub or other public premises (unless with their household of a larger number). This applies to both outdoor and indoor areas of the premises.
- Work from home if they can.
- Self-isolate for seven days if they test positive for COVID-19. People should take a lateral flow test on day six and day seven. If either test is positive they should remain in isolation until two negative lateral flow tests or after day 10, whichever is sooner.
- Not take part in an organised event indoors of more than 30 people or outdoors for more than 50 people. All organised events must be organised by a responsible body and have a risk assessment.
- People are also being encouraged to follow strengthened guidance to help them stay safe at home, this includes limiting the number of people they meet who they don’t live with, to flow before you go by taking a lateral flow test before going out, meeting people outdoors wherever possible and making sure indoor spaces are well ventilated.
Below we have reported the changes in more details and what guidance haven’t been changed:
From 31 December, if a person is currently self-isolating as a positive case or a person tests positive for COVID-19 they must self-isolate for 7 days. On day 6 of isolation, they should take a lateral flow test and another test 24 hours later. If both results are negative, it is likely they are not infectious.
However, if either of the tests taken on day 6 or 7 are positive, the person should remain in isolation until they have had two negative lateral flow tests or day 10 – whichever is sooner. A positive result on either day six or seven indicates the person is likely to still be infectious and therefore at risk of passing on coronavirus to others.
From the 6th of January people who are unvaccinated contacts of positive cases and are self-isolating for 10 days should now take a lateral flow test on day two and day eight instead of a PCR test.
If a person showing no symptoms has a positive lateral flow test they will no longer be advised to have a follow-up PCR test to confirm the result, unless they are in a clinically vulnerable group, which may need early access to treatment or have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme.
This change is to help reduce pressure on Wales’ testing capacities as there has been an increase in demand for PCR testing all over the UK. Please read the Welsh government’s full statement here.
School & Education
The guidance requiring staff and secondary school learners to wear face coverings in school, including in classrooms, has been continued into the new term and schools and colleges have been asked to plan for the most protective measures in accordance with the framework in use in schools and colleges.
Testing in School & Education settings
The Welsh governments most updated guidance says:
- All staff and secondary age learners and above are now strongly advised to use (and to report the results of) Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) three times a week as a method of identifying asymptomatic cases. It is also important for staff and learners to do so prior to their return to school or college this week.
- Children and young people aged 5-17 and fully vaccinated adults are now asked to take LFTs every day for seven days if they are identified as a contact of a positive COVID-19 case. This is known as ‘Daily Contact Testing’. We have made additional LFT kits available to primary schools across Wales this week to help support this change.
- Those who test positive must self-isolate for seven days. On day six of isolation, they should take a lateral flow test and another test 24 hours later. If both results are negative, it is likely they are not infectious.
- Schools and colleges are able to order and distribute one pack of 7 LFTs to each member of staff and secondary aged learner and above on a weekly basis so these individuals should not struggle to access tests.
- This term will have moved to a nasal only LFT for use in schools. Also, the bureaucracy and administration associated with the distribution of tests will have been reduced to make is easier for individuals to access tests and for schools and colleges to administer them.
Supported Living Guidance
There have been no changes to the supported living guidance, for you reference you can find the guidance here.
Care home and Social Care Guidance
There have been no changes further to the advice in place over the festive period. For reference you can find all guidance here.
If you have any further questions relating to carers of people with learning disabilities please get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
The AWF Team