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Recent COVID-19 cases and regular testing

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We have seen an increase in positive COVID-19 tests reported by students living in Halls this week. Case numbers in Reading have also increased recently, along with other areas of the UK, as restrictions are being eased as we move out of lockdown.

We are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and our Case Management Team will contact those identified as having been in close contact with the students who have reported a positive test to us. Remember, if you test positive, you must let your line manager know.

This is a timely reminder that we must not become complacent. A significant increase in cases could mean restrictions being reintroduced, or result in a delay of the next step of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. We must all continue to play our part to keep us all safe.

Regular lateral flow testing

The government is strongly encouraging everyone in England to take regular lateral flow tests (twice a week, three days apart) to help early detection of the virus in those without symptoms. This is a key part of their strategy to keep positive cases as low as possible as restrictions are lifted.

All colleagues and students can now pick up a box of 7 test kits from our collection points at the Library Café and Park Eat (open from Monday to Friday – excluding Bank Holiday Monday - from 10am to 4pm). Further information about other places to collect or order kits is published on the Staff Portal.

It is important that you register your result (positive or negative) on the government website. If your result is positive, you and your household must self-isolate immediately and you will need to book a PCR test. Please also let your line manager know as soon as possible so we can support you and your close University contacts. Further information is published on the Staff Portal.

Symptoms and PCR testing

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate and get a PCR test straight away. These are:

 

  • a high temperature;
  • a new continuous cough;

 

or

 

  • loss or change to your sense of taste and smell.

 

Research has shown that there are several less-common, ‘early symptoms’ of COVID-19. PHE have advised that these may include loss of appetite; diarrhoea; nausea/vomiting; extreme tiredness; headaches; joint pain; muscle ache; runny nose; sore throat; sneezing; altered consciousness; seizures.

You do not need to self-isolate or get a PCR test if you experience these without any of the main three COVID-19 symptoms. However, it is important to pay particular attention if you experience these ‘early symptoms’. Whilst in normal circumstances they may not be a cause for concern, we must all be mindful of the current increased risks that COVID-19 presents.

If you feel unwell with any of the ‘early symptoms’, we recommend that you:

 

  • monitor the symptoms closely, limit contact with others by staying at home as much as possible, and pay extra attention to cleaning any shared areas after use;

 

and

 

 

Remember that you should self-isolate and get a PCR test, if you develop any of the main symptoms - even mildly.

Respect and tolerance

As emphasised through our #NeverOK campaign, we are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for our whole community. There have been some concerning reports nationally about racist incidents connected to the origin of new variants. We will not tolerate any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination for any reason.  

Please continue to check your University email account and the Staff Portal for the latest information and advice.

 

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