COVID-19 Advice for Businesses

Actions to take in the event of an outbreak or suspected outbreak

Immediate action

If there is any suspicion that there may be a cluster of cases in your workplace or setting, the most important thing to do is to contact your local NHS Board Health Protection Team (HPT) early.

Do not spend time trying to work out what you should do yourself. Your HPT will be happy to advise you on what to do.

It is very important that the expert HPT be advised as early as possible of a possible problem so they can assess the situation and offer you advice. 

When should I suspect an outbreak?

An outbreak should be suspected if there are:

  • two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the setting within 10 days
  • increase in background rate of absence due to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19

A suspected outbreak should be reported to the local HPT who will undertake a public health risk assessment to determine whether there is an outbreak.

Note that settings with increased rates of respiratory illness should also be alert to the possibility that this could be due to COVID-19 and contact their local HPT for further advice. 

How do I contact the local HPT if I suspect an outbreak?

  • immediately inform NHS Borders HPT:
    • phone: 01896 825 560
    • out of hours Borders General Switchboard: 01896 826 000
    • email:
  • ensure the workplace has a nominated point of contact to liaise with the HPT

What else should I do if I suspect an outbreak?

  • continue to follow the measures you already have in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • implement your COVID Business Continuity Plan (if available)
  • your local Health Protection Team will conduct a rapid investigation and undertake a risk assessment. You will need to work with them to do this. The HPT will advise on the most appropriate actions to take
  • cooperate with your local HPT who will undertake a risk assessment and conduct a rapid investigation. They will advise on the most appropriate action to take
  • depending on the risk assessment outcome, the HPT may establish an Incident Management Team (IMT) to help manage the situation
  • the IMT will lead the Public Health response and investigations, and will work with you to put appropriate interventions in place and advise/support communication processes

What interventions might be put in place to control the outbreak?

Your HPT and IMT will work with you to identify the appropriate measures. The first step is to review implementation of core standard preventive measures and to ensure that they are in place and effective.