Care Outbreak Risk Assessment (Care OBRA) Tool for Acute Respiratory Infections

Report Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) in Adult Social Care e.g. COVID-19, Flu, RSV or unknown infection, including chest infections

This is an online Care Outbreak Risk Assessment (Care OBRA) Tool for all Adult Social Care providers to report:

  • NEW outbreaks of acute respiratory infections (ARI) e.g. COVID-19, Flu, RSV, chest infections or unknown respiratory infection OR
  • Single cases of Influenza (Flu)

The purpose of the Care OBRA Tool is to gather information that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Health Protection Team (HPT) or Community Infection Control Team (CICT) need to assess the situation within your setting, in order to help you manage the outbreak.

When to Report an Outbreak of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI)

It is important to report an outbreak of ARI when there are indications of its potential spread within a care setting. An outbreak of ARI is defined as:

An ARI outbreak consists of 2 or more positive or clinically suspected linked cases of ARI, within the same setting with symptom onset dates within a 5-day period. Linkage between cases indicates that transmission may have occurred within the care setting. Linkage is much more likely if there are at least two resident cases.

Acute Respiratory symptoms include high temperature/fever or chills, sneezing, coryza (runny or blocked nose); muscle aches; sore throat, chesty cough, hoarseness, wheezing and chest infections.

How to Report an Outbreak of Acute Respiratory Infection

Fill in the questions in the Care OBRA Tool by clicking on the “Continue” button below. However, please make sure you read this page of instructions before beginning.

Completing the Care OBRA Tool

The questions in the Care OBRA Tool should take around 10 minutes to answer.

This form is for the reporting of NEW outbreaks of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) e.g. COVID-19, flu, RSV or unknown infection, including chest infections. It can also be used to report single cases of confirmed Influenza (flu).

It is NOT suitable for

  • updating on existing outbreaks/clusters that you have already notified to the HPT or CIC Team
  • single cases of COVID-19 (you no longer need to report these)
  • any other type of infection other than acute respiratory

Before You Start

You should try to test (using COVID-19 LFD test kits) all symptomatic service users and staff who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments.

However, do not delay reporting because of difficulties with testing.

Please be aware that if you leave the Care OBRA risk assessment tool part-way through, after 20 minutes of no activity, your answers will be reset and you will have to start again.

Therefore, we suggest you seek out the following information before you start to complete this form:

  • The postcode of your setting
  • CQC Location ID (if your setting is CQC registered. See below for how to find your CQC Location ID)
  • Total number of Residents/Clients (service users) and Staff in your setting
  • Number of service users and/or Staff with symptoms (cases)
  • Dates of symptom onset for cases
  • Test results (and date of test) for anyone tested (please include test results for any ARI e.g. COVID, Flu, RSV)
  • Number of residents/clients and staff vaccinated, or not, for both COVID-19 and Influenza (Flu)

Please DO NOT include any person identifiable information about people receiving care in this form (e.g. names and date of births)

What happens next

As soon as you have answered the questions and “submitted” your data into the Care OBRA Tool, you will receive:

  • An automatic “Acknowledgement Email” stating whether you have reported a single case or a low-risk, medium-risk or high priority outbreak; The email will also contain a copy of the data that you have input into the Tool and a Care OBRA reference number [in the format OS_XXXX] and
  • A second automatic “Advice Email” which gives you information and advice on how to manage the situation that you have reported

For Low Risk COVID-19 outbreaks, all the advice you will need to manage your outbreak safely should be in the automated advice email.

For High Priority outbreaks, the HPT or the CICT (as per local arrangements) will look at the information that you have submitted and will always call you back (the same or next day, including weekends or bank holidays) to assess your outbreak further and/or give you further advice.

After submission of your data, if you receive an email that assesses your situation as “High Priority” over a weekend or a bank holiday, please also call the Health Protection Team (HPT) out of hours service, but please try and call during the daytime, if possible. If you don’t call the HPT, your outbreak will only be picked up by our team the next working day.

For Medium-Risk COVID-19 outbreaks, the HPT or the CICT (as per local arrangements) will look at the information that you have submitted on the next working day. They will use this information to decide whether, in addition to the advice given in the automated email, they feel that they or their partner organisations (e.g. local authority or NHS) can assist you further with your outbreak.

If you feel you have not received an appropriate response, then call your HPT or your CICT (as per local arrangements).

How to contact your UKHSA Health Protection Team (HPT)

Contact details for your local HPT (in and out of hours) can be found by clicking on this If you are calling regarding a High Priority Outbreak at a weekend/bank holiday, you should tell the call handler that you have been directed to call this number by your local HPT and you should have your Care OBRA reference number to hand. The Care OBRA reference number will be in the format “OS_XXXX”.

If for any reason you have been unable to complete this form, or your enquiry is not suitable for entry onto this form (then please contact your local HPT the next working day if non-urgent, or in an emergency, call your HPT’s out of hours service (click on the link above to find details of your local HPT).

CQC Location ID

If you don’t know your CQC Location ID then please visit Using CQC data - Care Quality Commission and scroll about half-way down the page to CQC care directory - csv. You will find your CQC Location ID in this look up table.

Data sharing

The data you provide may be shared with other stakeholders such as your Local Authority, Community Infection Control Team and NHS in order to ensure you receive the most appropriate support from the most relevant organisation. The UKHSA data sharing policy can be found on:

Continue for completion of the Care OBRA Tool