3.4 COVID-19 Notification of positive cases

It is essential that NHS Boards have systems in place to ensure that test confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 isolated from patients are reported to Infection Prevention and Control Teams (IPCTs) as promptly as possible to allow any inappropriately placed patients to be identified and isolated. 

COVID-19 is a notifiable disease and as such, directors of diagnostic laboratories must inform their health board, the common services agency and Public Health Scotland of all COVID-19 isolates.  This is a requirement of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 and notification of infectious disease or health risk forms are available.

3.4.1 Communicating results (including other care facilities and NHS Boards)

On confirmation of a positive COVID-19 patient isolate, the ward staff should be informed by the reporting laboratory or IPCT if the patient is still an inpatient. There must be agreed processes in place for communicating results and IPC advice out of hours when IPCTs are not available. There must be local processes in place to ensure that IPCTs and OHS share intelligence which may indicate an outbreak is occurring in a specific ward/department.

IPCTs should agree local notification process for any patients who have been discharged home since the COVID-19 test was undertaken to ensure that the patient is contacted at home and provided with the appropriate stay at home advice.

Where a confirmed COVID-19 positive patient has been discharged or transferred to another care facility or NHS Board (e.g., care home, hospice, mental health facility), the patient and/or the receiving area must be notified at the earliest opportunity to make them aware of the positive COVID-19 result or COVID-19 exposure to ensure that the appropriate control measures can be implemented where applicable. Similarly, if a confirmed case has transferred from another board within 48 hours of symptom onset or positive test, the IPCT must inform the NHS board from which the patient transferred to allow risk assessment to be undertaken and contacts to be identified where applicable.

There should be a local agreement in place to determine whether clinical teams or IPCTs will notify the facility and HPTs where required.  Local agreements should include reporting arrangements out of hours.

3.4.2 Surveillance

Active surveillance should be undertaken by IPCTs to allow clusters/incidents to be detected at the earliest possible opportunity.