What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is how we identify people who come into contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus and may be at risk themselves. These ‘contacts’ can then be given advice to reduce spread to other people as much as possible.

Contact tracing identifies people in the community who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. They may be at risk of getting coronavirus. A contact tracer will give them advice to reduce the spread of the virus to other people

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How does contact tracing work?

Contact Tracers will speak to people who have tested positive for coronavirus, and find the following people in the time 2 days before symptoms began to seven days after symptoms began:

  • People who you live with
  • anyone who has been in face to face contact with the person with coronavirus for any length of time
  • anyone who has not had face to face contact but who has been within two metres (6 feet) of the person with coronavirus for 15 minutes or more.

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Who are the Contact Tracers?

Contact Tracers will be employees of your Local Authority and Public Health Wales – they are made up of specialist public health professionals and non-specialist administrative staff. All staff have full Contact Tracing training relevant to their position, as well as data protection and confidentiality procedures.

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How will the Contact Tracers know my contact details?

If you book a Coronavirus test, you will need to provide your contact details so Contact Tracers can get in touch if you test positive for Coronavirus.

If you have not taken a Coronavirus test, someone has passed on your contact details as you have been judged to be at risk of transmission. Your contact details have been passed on confidentially, we will not inform you who passed your details on to us, and likewise, we will not share your details with anyone else.

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What should I do if a contact tracer contacts me?

Contact Tracers are there to protect you, your friends, family and the community from coronavirus. Please be as honest as possible about who you have been in contact with and where you have been when giving information to Contact Tracers. Your personal details will not be shared with anyone.

It is really important that you listen to and act on all of the instructions given to you by the Contact Tracers. These could be:

  • self-isolating
  • Increased hygiene measures such as handwashing and cleaning surfaces
  • requesting a coronavirus test.

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What questions will Contact Tracers ask if I have had a positive test result?

Contact tracers will ask you for the details of people who you have had contact with in the period from 48 hours before Coronavirus symptom onset to seven days after Coronavirus symptom onset. They will not ask why you had contact with a person or what you were doing with that person, but they may ask how close contact was or for how long to ascertain the level of risk posed to the contact and to  judge what steps a person may need to take to protect themselves.

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Will the Contact Tracer tell my contacts that it is me who has Coronavirus?

No – Contact Tracers will not do this. There are strict confidentiality procedures in place for both individuals who test positive for coronavirus and their contacts.

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How will Contact Tracers contact people?

This may be done by email, text or telephone – it is very important that you listen to the instructions given to you via email, text or telephone.

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Do I need to self-isolate even if I don’t have symptoms?

Yes. If a Contact Tracer tells you to self-isolate, please listen to them, even if you do not have symptoms. We know that some people with coronavirus may not show symptoms, so it’s very important that if you are told to self-isolate you do so.

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A Contact Tracer has told me to self-isolate, does my household need to self-isolate?

If you test positive for coronavirus,  then you must self-isolate for 7 days, and your household must self-isolate for 14 days. If at any time a member of your household shows symptoms of coronavirus, they must self-isolate for 7 days and book a test.

If you have not been tested for coronavirus but you have coronavirus symptoms – you must self-isolate for 7 days, book a test, and your household must self-isolate for 14 days. If at any time a member of your household shows symptoms of coronavirus, they must self-isolate for 7 days and book a test.

If you do not have coronavirus symptoms – you must self-isolate for 14 days. Your household does not need to self-isolate but must strictly follow social distancing rules and frequent hand washing. If at any time you or a member of your household shows symptoms of coronavirus, they must self-isolate for 7 days and book a test.

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Will everyone I have come into contact have to self-isolate?

No – only people who have had lengthy contact with you will need to self-isolate, such as:

  • household contacts
  • anyone who has been in face to face contact with the person with coronavirus for any length of time
  • anyone who has not had face to face contact but who has been within two metres (6 feet) of the person with coronavirus for 15 minutes or more.

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What if I don’t know people I have come into contact with?

Although you may not know individuals, the time and place you were in contact with people will provide Contact Tracers with information to inform a shops and businesses that there may be a risk of coronavirus spread.

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I broke lockdown restrictions and met up with a group of people, will you fine us for this if I tell you?

No. Contact Tracers are there to protect the health of you and your community. Contact Tracers want to know who you have been in contact with so they can prevent the spread of coronavirus. Please be honest about who you have had contact with so these people can be told to self-isolate. This is so that we can help stop the spread of the virus.

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If I self-isolate once, does that mean that I won’t have to do it again?

No . You may be asked to self-isolate more than once. We understand that this will be frustrating for people but  it is important to reduce contact with other people and if you manage to do this then it will be less likely to isolate in the future.

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Will my personal data be securely stored and kept confidential?

Yes. As with all NHS and medical information, your personal details are kept securely and are not shared with anyone else. They will not be shared with any of your contacts.

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What about the contact tracing app?

There will be a UK-wide digital app which people can activate on smartphones to anonymously track when two devices using the app are close together. This ‘proximity tracking’ is different to contact tracing, because it does not record any personal or location details. But it can help manage the spread of the disease, for example as an early warning system which works more quickly than contact tracing, and by sending an anonymous alert to strangers who would not be reported through contact tracing.

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How do I book a test?

Everyone in Wales suffering with COVID19 symptoms is now able to request a test either at a testing centre or via a home testing kit.

Critical workers

Critical workers and members of their households can request a COVID test at our test centres if they are suffering symptoms of Coronavirus. In the vast majority of cases, they can receive a test at a centre more quickly than they would by ordering an online test to your home.  The list of critical workers can be found here.  To book a test at one of our drive through centres across CTM, contact 01656 752993 (lines open 7 days a week, 9am-5pm).

Public 

Members of the public with symptoms can apply online for a home testing kit to receive a home testing kit or by phoning the free number 119. Home testing kits involve a combined throat and nose swab.

To be tested you must have symptoms of COVID19 which include:

  • Fever (37.8c or higher)
  • A new or continuous cough
  • New onset of influenza like illness (including muscle aches and tiredness)
  • Cold like symptoms (including headache, runny nose, sore eyes – that is not consistent with hay fever)
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell

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What if I become symptomatic after speaking to a Contact Tracer?

If you become symptomatic after a Contact Tracer has made contact, you must self-isolate and book a Coronavirus test. Any people who live with you will need to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they do not have Coronavirus symptoms.

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If I think have symptoms and are tested but that test comes back negative do I still need to isolate for 14 days because of my contact with the original positive case?

Yes, you will still need to self-isolate for the full 14 days. Coronavirus tests may not pick up the virus in the very early stages of transmission, so it’s important that you continue to self-isolate for the full 14 days.

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If I am asked to self isolate after contact with a positive case what do I tell my employer, do I get an email/letter as proof and will I get paid?

You can tell your employer that you have been instructed to self-isolate due to being in contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus.

The terms of your employment will dictate what financial support you will receive during this time, however, all employees and workers who self-isolate must receive at least Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them from the first day they’re absent from work.

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Contact Tracing FAQs