What Action to Take Following Positive C-19 Test or Symptoms

Posted in News, tagged with covid, COVID-19, Shooting, testing, on October 15, 2020

We are now seeing shoots disrupted by Coronavirus as people involved in the production present with symptoms or test positive. Changes have had to be made to some productions as a result, but every commercial disrupted has been delivered.

We very much need to continue to find a way of completing every production, which APA members are committed to and are achieving – even in Liverpool yesterday! – because a production that is cancelled will result in an advertiser having to pay a lot of money with no film to show for it; which will scare already anxious clients and see fewer productions going ahead.

The purpose of this email is to provide you with guidance on what to do if someone who is part of your production (anyone on set or due to attend set) informs you that:

1. They have Coronavirus symptoms
or
2. Have tested positive for Coronavirus.


We need to look at those two situations separately, as the required course of action in  respect of people who have been in contact with someone with Coronavirus symptoms is different from that for people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Even the definition of “contact” differs between people with symptoms and people who have tested positive. That isn’t the only part of the government guidance that doesn’t make sense, so our advice below is to provide you with clarity and answers as to what action you should take despite the vagaries.

What action should you take if someone due to attend your shoot or on your shoot informs you that they have Coronavirus symptoms?

A person with Coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate for 10 days and get a test.

Our advice is that those in close contact of people with symptoms should self-isolate until the status of the person with symptoms is known (the government guidance on this point is unclear but we think this is the responsible course). 

Examples of close contact include:

  • close face-to-face contact (under 1 metre) for any length of time – including talking to them or coughing on them
  • being within 1 to 2 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes – including travelling in a small vehicle

NHS guidance on when you should self-isolate and what to do.

The person with symptoms should get tested and if they test positive then people who have been in contact with them (as defined below) must then self-isolate.

What action should you take if someone due to attend your shoot or on your shoot informs you that they have tested positive for Coronavirus?

Someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus should self-isolate for 10 days from when they are tested.

A “contact” of a person who has tested positive for Coronavirus needs to self-isolate for 14 days from the date on which they were in contact with the person who tested positive (which is longer than the person who has tested positive because of the incubation period). 

A “contact” is defined as:

  • A person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
    • being coughed on
    • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • having skin-to-skin physical contact
    • contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • A person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • A person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

Govt guidance for contacts of people with possible or confirmed Coronavirus, who do not live with the person. 

NB 1 – The NHS site says that someone who has been in contact with someone who has had a positive test for Coronavirus should not self-isolate, unless they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
That advice is clear but I think it is wrong and to follow it would be irresponsible – anyone who has been in contact as defined above with someone who has tested positive with Coronavirus should self-isolate – the failure of Test and Trace to contact them isn’t a good reason for not doing so.

NB 2 – A “contact” of a person who has tested positive for Coronavirus must continue to self-isolate for the whole 14 days regardless of how many times they themselves test negative.

NB 3 – No action is required in respect of someone who is a contact of a contact, e.g. if the director’s husband was in contact with someone who tested positive for Coronavirus, the director’s husband would have to self-isolate but the director, as the contact of a contact, would not have to.

NB 4 – As an employer you should help your employees (including freelancers) self-isolate if they:

  • have coronavirus symptoms and are waiting for a test result
  • have tested positive for Coronavirus
  • are a member of the same household as someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • have been in close recent contact with someone who has tested positive and received a notification to self-isolate.