NHS Test and Trace
NHS Test and Trace
In its current, form the process of NHS Test and Trace is:
- A person becomes symptomatic with new persistent cough, fever and / or loss of sense of smell;
- They should self-isolate at this point in case they have COVID-19;
- They apply on-line or by telephone for a COVID-19 test;
- The test takes place at a drive-through or walk-in site or with a home-testing kit;
- The result is returned a day or two later;
- If the result is positive, the person tested (who we will now call the index case) is contacted by a clinical contact tracer and interviewed to find out about any contacts they have had in recent days;
- The contacts are then called and asked to self-isolate for 14 days (the longer period for contacts is because they could be incubating the virus);
- Contacts are not routinely tested unless they become symptomatic – this is because they could have negative results but still go on to develop COVID-19;
- If the ‘index case’ is well after 7 days, they can resume normal activities;
- If a contact develops symptoms, they should be tested as well, but they should continue to isolate for the full 14 days even with a negative test. If, however, their test is positive, they need only isolate for 7 days from the onset of symptoms or until the illness has resolved, whichever is the longer;
If there are problems in contacting the index case or their contacts, or if the index case is considered to be in some way ‘complex’, the process of interviewing and contact tracing is referred to a local Health Protection Team, who will take over and manage the process in conjunction with the local authority.
The Key Messages are:
- Self-isolate straight away if you become ill with cough, fever or loss of smell;
- Get a test as soon as you can!
- Continue to observe the good hygiene measures for preventing spread of the virus.
If you are tested in a hospital or other health care setting and your result is positive, you will also be contacted for an interview and to identify your contacts.
If you have been contacted to inform you that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you should follow the advice set out on the NHS website which you can access using this link: