What is Test and Trace?
Test and Trace means that anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by the NHS and asked to share information about their recent interactions with other people in the two days before symptoms started and up to 7 days afterwards. This is called contact tracing.
This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.
The aim is to identify people who could have been infected with Covid-19, alert them and prevent them from spreading the virus any further. This is particularly important as lockdown measures are beginning to be eased.
What happens then?
Those people identified as having been in close contact with someone who has had a positive test result must then stay at home for 14 days. They will be contacted by text, phone or email and asked to log-in to a secure online service. This service will then outline the steps that you need to take or a trained call handler will be able to talk you through what you need to do.
Even if people have no symptoms they must follow the advice to prevent them spreading the virus without knowing.
What happens if those people in isolation develop symptoms?
People in isolation who develop symptoms can book their own test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days from the first day when their symptoms first started.
If they test negative, they must still complete the 14-day isolation period.
What about other members of their households?
Other members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified as a contact becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
What are the symptoms I should look out for?
If you develop a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a change in your sense of smell or taste you should immediately report these symptoms and book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus.
If I am told to stay at home, will I be eligible for sick pay?
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that those having to self-isolate will be eligible for statutory sick pay if they are unable to work from home.
If you cannot work from home while you are self-isolating, you may be entitled to Employment Support Allowance. More information, including the eligibility criteria, can be seen here www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance.
If I am contacted by Test and Trace, how will I know what to do?
If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team by text, it will come from NHStracing and calls will come from 0300 0135000.
The Government has said that people who are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service will be given clear information explaining what they must do and how they can access local support if needed.
Guidance is also available online at gov.uk/coronavirus.
What local support is available?
Local support can include things like:
- Food shopping.
- General help with loneliness – A friendly call.
- Prescription collection.
- Dog walking if you need to self-isolate.
Help to get online
We can support you with your Wi-Fi Connection, Emails, Online Shopping and Skype and Zoom Calls to stay connected with friends and family.
Find out more about local support available during Covid-19 or call the Freephone helpline on 0800 073 0043.
Are there steps I can take to protect myself and others?
- Yes – there are a number of steps you can take:
- Continue to stay at home as much as possible and limit your contact with others.
- If you do need to go out, maintain social distancing.
- Continue to regularly wash your hands with soap and water and use a hand gel sanitiser if possible.
- Remember to catch it, bin it, kill it with coughs and sneezes – dispose of tissues in a bin with a lid.
- If you can work from home, do so.
- If you need to use public transport or visit a hospital setting, the wearing of a face covering is now mandatory.