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Explains how the contact tracing system works if you have tested positive for coronavirus.

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First published:
15 June 2020
Last updated:

Overview

If you have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), you must self-isolate for at least 7 days.

Day 1 is the day immediately following the day your symptoms started.

If you do not have any symptoms or are unsure, you should count from the day immediately following the date you took your test. If you develop symptoms within your isolation period, the 7 days self-isolation starts again from the day after your symptoms started.

If you have tested positive you must self-isolate even if you have been fully vaccinated or are under 18. There are no exemptions. Self-isolation following a positive test result applies to adults and children of all ages.

Children under 5 do not need to take a PCR or a LFT, even if they have COVID-19 symptoms. They can take a test if a doctor advises it, or if a parent believes a test is absolutely necessary and in the best interests of a child.

If a child under 5 does take a test and the result is positive, then the child must self-isolate for at least 7 days and follow the self-isolation guidance.

You are legally required to self-isolate on notification of a positive test result. If you do not, you are committing an offence and could get a fixed penalty notice of up to £1,920 or be prosecuted in court, which can lead to an unlimited fine.

You can leave isolation after 7 full days (on day 8 of your self isolation period). You should take a lateral flow test (LFT) on day 6 of your isolation period and another LFT 24 hours later to check if you remain infectious and might therefore pass COVID-19 onto others. You should not take a LFT before the sixth day of your isolation period because the risks of remaining infectious and the chances of passing it onto others before this period is significantly higher.

If both your LFT results are negative you can leave self-isolation after 7 full days. 

To further reduce the chance of passing COVID-19 on to others, after leaving self-isolation after 7 full days you should:

  • not visit vulnerable people such as those in care homes or hospitals and disclose your status if it is absolutely necessary to attend such places
  • try and minimise contact with others and avoid crowded settings, particularly indoor settings
  • work from home if you are not already doing so
  • pay extra attention to hand washing and wearing a face covering.

You should follow this advice until 10 full days from when your self-isolation period started.

When should I remain in self-isolation?

If either of the LFTs taken on day 6 or day 7 are positive you should remain in self-isolation until 2 negative LFTs or after day 10 whichever is sooner. A positive result indicates that you are likely to still be infectious and the risk of you passing on coronavirus to others is high. If the result of the LFT test you take on day 6 is positive, wait 24 hours before you take the next test.

If you still have a high temperature after 7 full days, even if the LFT is negative, you should continue to self-isolate until your temperature has returned to normal.

You do not need to continue self-isolating for more than 7 days if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste. These symptoms can last for several weeks following a COVID-19 infection.

There is additional guidance for those working in health and social care and those who work in special educational provision

How will the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service contact you

They will either contact you by phone from 029 2196 1133, or by text or email from NHSWALESTTP.

If you miss their call, they’ll call you back.

For children under 16 the contact tracer can speak to either of the following:

  • an adult on behalf of the child
  • the child if their parent or guardian has consented

During your self-isolation period you must stay at home for the whole time you are self-isolating. There are some emergency reasons when you can leave self-isolation. These include seeking medical help, where urgent or advised by a medical professional.

What NHS Test Trace Protect contact tracers will ask you

You will be asked to provide information on:

  • where you’ve been recently
  • who you’ve been in close contact with up to 14 days before your symptoms started

This will help to identify where you may have caught the virus. It will also help to identify anyone you may have passed the virus to. This information will help us contact those at risk of becoming ill and spreading the virus to give them appropriate advice. This is in the interests of protecting the health of your contacts and your wider community. 

If you are contacted by phone

Contact tracers will explain what this means and talk you through the process. They will ask if you prefer to communicate in Welsh or English.

If you submit your details over the telephone, then you’ll be asked to provide a home number or mobile number.

If you are contacted by text or email

We will send a secure one-time code to you via text message. This will include the link to the form you need to complete.

By working together we can help reduce the spread of the disease, so it’s important that you complete the form and:

  • confirm your name, address, postcode, telephone numbers, email address, date of birth, disability and ethnicity data
  • location of work and job role
  • provide names/addresses of the people you’ve come into close contact with and places you’ve visited
  • even if contacts are exempt from self-isolation, we still need to have their details

If you submit your details by completing the website form, you’ll need to provide a mobile number.

Scams: what to look out for

The NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service will only contact you if:

  • You’ve tested positive for COVID-19. When you ask for a test you’ll be asked for your contact details so that you’ll receive your result.
  • If you test positive, your details will be given to NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service so that they can contact you. They’ll then ask you to share information on your recent contacts.
  • You’re a confirmed contact of someone who has tested positive. NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect will contact you if the person who tested positive has passed on your contact details as part of the contact tracing process.

A contact tracer will either contact you by phone from 02921 961133, or by text or email from NHSWALESTTP.  You will not be asked for any financial information, bank details, passwords or any other data other than information covered here. If you have any doubts then you should not provide the information.

A contact tracer will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (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 COVID-19 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 Welsh Government or NHS
  • if you think you have been sent a scam message, please report it to Action Fraud
  • if you receive an email which you are not quite sure about, you can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) by e-mailing report@phishing.gov.uk
  • to report a spam text, forward the message to Ofcom’s spam texting service on 7726

Data protection

The NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service will securely handle your data in the same way as other health data in Wales. All data is sent by NHS Wales Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) to SAIL (the databank assisting the Government and NHS in tackling the pandemic). An overarching Wales Accord on the Sharing of Personal Information (WASPI) agreement has been made in respect of the introduction of the mass contact tracing arrangements in Wales.

Further information on the role of WASPI.

Further information

For further information read the self-isolation guidance.