Test, Trace, Protect: Coronavirus

In response to the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect Service has been set up and is now live in Gwent to carry out contact tracing.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a tried and tested method of controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the community. People who test positive will be phoned by the service and asked to share details of people they have been in close contact with, for example at home or at work.

These contacts will then be followed up and given advice on what they should do.  Depending on the situation, this might include:

  • Isolating at home for 14 days
  • Daily follow up phone calls to people in order to check for symptoms
  • Having a test for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms
  • Specific advice and guidance for vulnerable people
  • Reinforcing advice on hygiene and social distancing at home and in the community

 

Why are we contact tracing?

Contact tracing allows us to find out quickly who has the virus and who is at risk of having caught it so they can self-isolate and prevent spreading it to others.  This will reduce the spread of the virus in the community, and is an important part of being able to ease the Government lockdown measures.

Contact tracing is not about monitoring where people have been or what they’ve been doing.  Information gathered by the service will only be used to stop the spread of the virus and identify hot spots. 

 

What should I do next?

We will all need to take steps to protect ourselves, our families and our communities if we are to successfully limit the spread of the disease.
 

1. Know the main symptoms of coronavirus

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms:

  • A high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
     

2. Self-isolate if you get symptoms

If you develop any of these symptoms, however mild, you must self-isolate at home immediately for 7 days and the rest of your household for 14 days.  If however any members of your household develop symptoms within that 14 days they must isolate for a further 7 days from the day their symptoms started. 

For further guidance on self-isolating visit: www.gov.wales/self-isolation-stay-home-guidance-households-possible-coronavirus .

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or if your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, use the 111 online coronavirus service.  If you do not have internet access, call 111.  In a medical emergency, dial 999.
 

3. Get a test for coronavirus

Get a test as soon as possible after your symptoms start, and within 5 days, when the test is most effective.

Critical Workers* (and their household members/immediate contacts)

Members of the Public

  • Follow employers sickness policy
  • Email covid-19.testing.unit.abb@wales.nhs.uk with your name, date of birth, first line of your address, mobile number and details of your employer
  • Employers can continue to make a referral on behalf of their employees

Apply for a test online: www.gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test

OR

Call 119 for free between the hours of 7am and 11pm. 

People with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119

 

 

*Read more about who is a critical worker here: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-critical-key-workers-test-eligibility

If your test is negative, no further action is needed and you and your household can stop isolating, providing there are no new symptoms of coronavirus.  
 

4. Share information about your contacts with a contact tracer if you test positive

If you test positive, you will be contacted by a contact tracer from the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service.  The contact tracer will ask for information about your symptoms, where you’ve been and the people you’ve been in contact with, during a period beginning up to two days before your symptoms started. You will be asked for their names, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers (including mobile) and email addresses, if you have this information.

A second contact tracer will then get in touch with the people on the list you have provided. The contact tracer will advise them sensitively that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Your identity will not be revealed unless you have given your permission.
 

5. Follow the advice of the contact tracing service

Contact tracing advisors are trained to give you the most up to date, appropriate advice, based on your individual circumstances.  It is vital that you follow this advice to keep yourself and others safe, and slow the spread of the virus in the community.

If you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive you will be advised to self-isolate for 14 days from the last contact you had with the person who has tested positive, even if you don’t have symptoms and are feeling well.  This is because if you have been infected, you could become infectious to others at any point up to 14 days, whether you have symptoms or not.  To help monitor any emerging symptoms you’ll be contacted daily by the service.   

Any contact that is made from the service will be done using the following:

 

Be aware of scammers

Be vigilant of scammers.  Contact from the NHS Wales Trace, Test, Protect service will only be from the official channels outlined above.  DO NOT:

  • Make any form of payment or purchase a product, test and the advice from the service is free
  • Give out any of your bank details
  • Give out any passwords, PINs or set up any over the phone
  • Download any software to your computer or tablet
  • Dial a premium rate number to speak to anyone

If in any doubt, hang up or do not respond.

For further information about Contact Tracing visit: https://gov.wales/contact-tracing-your-questions
 

Other important actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Testing and contact tracing are only one way of preventing the spread of the virus. It is vitally important that everyone continues to do these other things to prevent catching and spreading coronavirus:

  • Always stay at least 2 metres apart from people you don’t live with (unless you are providing care and wearing appropriate PPE). This also applies in the workplace e.g. breaks, meetings and travel to / from work.
  • Catch your cough or sneeze into tissues, dispose of them and clean your hands as soon as possible
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces and objects in your home and workplace

For more information about coronavirus please visit the Public Health Wales website: www.phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus