Objectives: Healthcare worker (HCW) SARS-CoV-2 contacts in England have been required to quarantine, creating staff shortages. We piloted daily contact testing (DCT) to assess its feasibility as an alternative.
Study design: Observational service evaluation.
Methods: We conducted an observational service evaluation of 7-day DCT using antigen lateral flow devices (LFDs) at four acute hospital trusts and one ambulance trust in England. Mixed methods were used, using aggregate and individual-level test monitoring data, semi-structured interviews, and a survey of eligible contacts.
Results: In total, 138 HCWs were identified as contacts of a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 case. Of these, 111 (80%) consented to daily LFD testing, of whom 82 (74%) completed the required programme without interruption and 12 (11%) completed with interruption. Fifty-eight participants (52%) and two non-participants (7.4%) completed the survey. In total, 28 interviews were conducted with participants, site and infection control leads, and union representatives. One participant tested positive on LFD and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Three participants tested positive on PCR but not LFD. DCT was well-accepted by trusts and staff. Participants reported no relaxation of their infection prevention and control behaviours. No incidents of transmission were detected. An estimated 729 potential days of work absence were averted.
Conclusions: DCT can be acceptably operated in a healthcare setting, averting quarantine-related work absences in HCW SARS-CoV-2 contacts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information: The pilot was undertaken by NHS Test and Trace, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the participating NHS trusts, all of which are services funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.
All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf. JS was seconded from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust to NHS England and NHS Improvement during the time the DCT pilot was taking place. TF received an honorarium to act as a panellist in the 2020 National Priorities Research Program 13-S programmatic review for the Qatar National Research Fund. SH is partially funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit from Oxford and Imperial University for HCAI and AMR. The evaluation team, which was responsible for data analysis and writing the report, comprised staff from NHS Test and Trace who were employed by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Health Service or DHSC.
Open Access: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://
Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The Royal Society for Public Health.
Citation: S.M.A. Bow, A. Goddard, G. Cope, N. Sharp, J. Schick, C. Woods, K. Jeffery, D. Harrington, S. Williams, A.J. Rodger, S. Finer, T. Fowler, S. Hopkins, S.A. Tunkel, An evaluation of a pilot of daily testing of SARS-CoV-2 contacts in acute hospital and ambulance trusts in England, Public Health, Volume 209, 2022, Pages 46-51, ISSN 0033-3506,
- Daily contact testing
- Healthcare workers
- Lateral flow