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Early Outbreak Management

COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:

  • know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it

This information is contained within 'action cards' that have been designed for specific situations where an outbreak could occur. This could be a restaurant or office, a construction site or a place of worship.

Local reporting

If your business or organisation has two or more linked positive COVID cases you must inform Sunderland's Public Health Team. Email -

Further advice to help all businesses work safely at this time

  1. Ensure that your COVID-19 risk assessment is still in place. Share it with all your staff as a reminder. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your visitors to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently. COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings outside the home - GOV.UK (
  3. Remind your visitors to wear face coverings where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your visitors are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own - GOV.UK (
  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that your staff and visitors can follow. Consider how many people can be in each space while remaining socially distant and using barriers to separate people and introduce back-to-back or side-by-side working.
  5. Try to ensure that staff work with the same team every day and minimise external contacts. Use fixed teams or shift patterns to reduce the number of people each person comes into contact with. Minimise deliveries and frequency of handling and use the same pairs of people for load handling where more than one person is needed.
  6. Consider ventilationRead advice on air conditioning and ventilation from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
  7. Keep music and other background noise to a minimum to prevent people from speaking loudly or shouting.
  8. Ensure that all measures are also in place in breakout and communal areas and encourage people to avoid travelling to work by sharing cars. Many workplace outbreaks have been caused by staff socialising before and after work or in break times.
  9. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all staff and contractors for 21 days. Check 'Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace' for details. Ensure you have in place robust contact tracing mechanisms within your workplace so you can identify any individuals who may have been close contacts at work and need to self-isolate. Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person - GOV.UK ( at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - GOV.UK (
  10. Act fast if a staff member or visitor shows symptoms. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a visitor shows any signs of coronavirus (a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell) they should be isolating until they can take a test. Guidelines on what to do if a staff member tests positive can be viewed at COVID-19 early outbreak management - GOV.UK ( If more than one member of staff tests positive in the workplace please let us know on so that we can offer advice.
  11. Support staff to self-isolate. Employers must not require someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work. If an employee is asked to self-isolate as they are a close contact of someone with Covid-19, they must continue to isolate for ten days even if they test negative themselves. Any employer asking an employee to break self-isolation to work is committing an offence.
  12. The Government has published 14 guides covering a range of different sectors. If you would like more help and advice visit Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Guidance - GOV.UK (

National programme - workplace coronavirus tests

Employers in the public and private sector with 50 or more staff can request to establish their own testing sites in the workplace for people without symptoms. Find out more on the GOV.UK get workplace coronavirus tests web page.

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