From this morning, anyone in Wolverhampton who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about people they have recently been in contact with.
These interactions could include household members or other people they have been in direct contact with, or anyone they have been within 2 metres with for more than 15 minutes.
People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has had a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, in order to stop unwittingly spreading the virus.
If those in isolation develop symptoms they should book a test at NHS or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for seven days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test 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 develops symptoms, at which point they must also self isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “NHS Test and Trace is the next stage in the fight against coronavirus, with the Government saying 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 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 Salma Reehana, Clinical Chair of Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group and a local GP, 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 five, meaning that 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 GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS.
The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.