Health and Wellbeing

More about the ‘Tracing’ in Test and Trace

Image of a coronavirus swabbing test

Posted on: 23 July 2020

We’ve been asked this week to explain a bit more about what happens if you develop any of the COVID-19 symptoms.  So we thought we’d unpick it a little.

What we know

So we know that if we develop any of these symptoms – a continuous cough, a high temperature, loss or change in taste or smell – we’re to order a test as quickly a possible.

There are two types of test we can choose to order: a test kit delivered to your home, or a test at a testing site.  It’s your choice.

These can be ordered online  or by phoning 119 if you’ve not got internet access.

If you’re an essential worker, there’s another route.

Results are usually back within 48 hours, but some may take a bit longer.

And when we get the results?

If the test’s negative, great.  If you no longer have the symptoms similar to COVID-19 you can stop self-isolating.  Bear in mind though that although you may not have coronavirus, you might have something like a cold or flu, so still advisable to avoid others until you’re better.

And if it’s positive, it means that when you took the test, you had coronavirus.  You and members in your household must self-isolate.

Then what happens?

If you have tested positive, you’ll be contacted by text, email or phone, by NHS Test and Trace contactors to ask you to share information about any close contacts you’ve had just before or after you developed symptoms.

You’ll be sent a link to the NHS Test and Tace website and asked to create a confidential account where you can record details of those close contacts.  Or, if you’ve not got internet access, you’ll receive a telephone call from a contact tracer and they’ll ask you for the information.

That information will be kept strictly confidential.  Likewise, when those contacts are contacted, they’ll not be told the identity of the person who’s tested positive.

They will be asked to self-isolate though.

More about those Contact Tracers please

Contact tracers will:

  • call you from 0300 013 5000
  • send you text messages from ‘NHStracing’
  • ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
  • ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • ask about the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing
  • ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the 2 days prior to your symptoms starting
  • ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside England

Contact tracers will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
  • provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

So I’ve tested positive and I’m self-isolating, but I feel fine.

If have tested positive and you have no symptoms, you should still self isolate for at least 10 days. You can stop self-isolating after that.

If you still have symptoms after 10 days, keep self-isolating and only stop when the symptoms have gone.

More guidance on how long to self-isolate for is available on the NHS website.

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing