New Test and Trace service launches to fight coronavirus
The Government’s new NHS Test and Trace service, designed to help identify, contain and control the spread of coronavirus, has been launched.
From now on, anyone in the Dudley borough who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
They will be asked to share any interactions they have had with others - household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or anyone they have been within two metres with for more than 15 minutes.
Those identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they are not displaying symptoms, in order to stop the potential spread of the virus.
Those in isolation developing symptoms should book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If the test is positive, they must continue to stay at home for seven days or until symptoms have passed. If the test is negative, they must continue and complete the 14-day isolation period.
Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
Bal Kaur, Director of Public Health, said:
NHS Test and Trace is the next stage in the fight against coronavirus.
The Government hopes it will enable us to replace national lockdowns with individual isolation or, if necessary, more local lockdowns where there are outbreaks.
It’s really important that everyone in the borough understands how the scheme works, and what to do if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace because they have either tested positive for coronavirus, or they have been in close contact with someone else who has.
Reducing our day-to-day contact with other people still remains the best way to stop the spread of coronavirus, and to help save lives, and so we also need to keep on following the Government’s social distancing guidance – for the safety of everyone.
Dr David Hegarty, Clinical Chair of Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
It’s really important that, if you have coronavirus symptoms, you contact the NHS Test and Trace service as soon as possible.
You can then quickly be tested to find out if you have the virus, and help to trace close recent contacts of yours if you test positive for coronavirus. If necessary, the service will notify those contacts that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.
The service will allow us to trace the spread of the virus and isolate new infections and play a vital role in giving us early warning if the virus is increasing again locally.
The Government says the NHS Test and Trace service will have the capacity to trace the contacts of 10,000 people who test positive for coronavirus per day and can be scaled up if needed.
The Government has also expanded testing to children aged under 5, meaning anyone with symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a change in their sense of smell or taste – can now get tested.
Meanwhile, social distancing measures remain in place. Everyone must:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out
- Wash your hands regularly
- Stay at home and self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.