Role of Screening and Testing

Daily clinical screening

Completion of a symptom questionnaire and temperature testing may identify 60% of symptomatic cases.

  • Unions, Competitions or Clubs should arrange a daily symptom reporting protocol, preferably completed prior to leaving home. A sample document is attached (appendix 1) and would be most effective if delivered via an online portal such as 'google docs' or similar.
  • Alternatively, numerous app-based symptom-check solutions are available commercially.
  • Temperature checks on entering the Club facility, should be contact free (to avoid disease spread) and follow a set protocol. Please note that thermometers are of variable quality.
  • Players or non -playing staff with a temperature or any symptoms should not attend training or the facility. They should contact their team doctor or primary care doctor by phone to establish the best course of action.

PCR testing (test used to confirm presence of COVID-19 virus)

If an individual is suspected to have an acute infection of COVID-19, they may be tested by having a swab of their nose and throat. The sample is used to culture the virus and confirm whether the individual is infected or not. It should be noted that:

  • This testing is not perfect, there are missed cases (false negatives).
    • A negative test may miss an infection, and where a player is symptomatic despite a negative test, the player should be managed and treated as an infected person.
  • A positive test means the individual must isolate at home.
  • ‘Close contacts’ of an infected person (defined above), from 2 days prior to the infected person becoming symptomatic, must also be assessed.

Antibody testing - this is a blood test (taken via pin-prick or venous blood)

This test is under development and aims to measure the presence of antibodies (proteins made by the body to fight the virus) in the blood of individuals who have been exposed to the virus. These tests may identify individuals who have:

  • Been exposed and may be immune however this must be determined by scientific research.
  • Not yet been exposed and who have a higher risk of infection.
  • All these tests are subject to scientific validation, local availability and their role in your local public health and/or government authorities' COVI D-19 plan will differ. Your Club will be guided by this local policy. The reliability of these tests is still under investigation.
  • In the future, regular testing (possibly both PCR and anti-body testing) will most likely be a component of group training, playing and travelling. The evidence supporting the use of testing is growing quickly and will be updated in this document as it does.