30 August 2022

Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing during periods of low case prevalence

Asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 to pause from 31 August 2022.

NHS England recently published a letter stating that asymptomatic LFD testing for COVID-19 infection across most healthcare settings, including in optometry practices, will pause from 31 August 2022 in England. This is in light of a significant reduction in COVID-19 case prevalence, but the decision may change over the upcoming winter months when seasonal respiratory infections are expected to increase. 

  • Practices should complete an occupational risk assessment for staff who are considered higher risk or work in direct contact with patients at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 infection, to determine whether asymptomatic LFD testing may be of value.
  • Practices should contact their local health and safety representatives (medical directors, nursing directors, or directors of infection prevention and control) to consider continuing asymptomatic LFD testing for specific individuals.

It is important to note that LFD testing will continue to be available for healthcare staff with symptoms of COVID-19, and return to work criteria following a positive test result continues to apply. 

This article was correct at time of publication. 

Related further reading

For the very last issue of Optometry in Practice, Professor Jonathan Jackson MCOptom reflects on the past two decades of the journal and its contribution to our learning.

This paper describes how viruses infect, reproduce and damage cells. Knowing this process is critical for understanding how to treat ocular viral infections.