Coronavirus (COVID-19) NHS Test and Trace and local contact tracing

The NHS Test and Trace programme has been launched by the Government to track every single case of coronavirus in our communities to reduce the rate of infection and save lives.

The more people that use Test and Trace correctly, the more effective it will be at stopping the spread of the virus and the safer it will be for you and your loved ones.

From 16 August 2021 people who are double vaccinated or under 18 years and 6 months no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case. Fully vaccinated means that you have been vaccinated with an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, and at least 14 days have passed since you received the recommended doses of that vaccine. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.

If you have not been fully vaccinated, you still need to self-isolate for 10 days.

Those who are not required to self-isolate are encouraged to book a PCR test as soon as possible after being identified as a close contact.

They may also consider:

  • Limiting close contact with other people outside their household, especially in enclosed spaces
  • Wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and where they're unable to maintain social distancing
  • Limiting contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
  • Taking part in twice weekly LFD testing - link to rapid testing page

From now on, you are being asked to follow this three-step plan:

Step 1 - If you have one or more of the symptoms of coronavirus - a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss of taste or smell – you must immediately self-isolate. Members of your household who are under 18 or double vaccinated do not need to self isolate but are asked to take a PCR test as soon as possible. People who are unvaccinated or have had just one dose need to self-isolate for 10 days.

Step 2 - You then must book a test on the NHS website and if you don’t have internet access dial 119. Do not leave home for any other reason. If you test positive, you will then be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service within 24 hours. If you test negative, you and members of your household who were self-isolating no longer need to isolate as long as:

If you have diarrhoea or you’re being sick, stay at home until 48 hours after they've stopped.

Step 3 - If you do test positive, NHS Test and Trace will help you establish who you have been in contact with and might have infected. This could be members of your own household already isolating or someone you have had close contact, e.g. have been within two metres of for longer than 15 minutes.

You will also be given clinical advice and support for dealing with the virus. NHS Test and Trace will then contact those contacts anonymously. If you are one of those contacts, you will be advised to isolate for 10 days unless you are under 18 years and 6 months or double vaccinated, even if you don’t have symptoms or feel perfectly well. If you develop symptoms, you will be required to get a test. Even if negative you will still have to self-isolate for 10 days unless you are under 18 years and 6 months or double vaccinated. Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing both inside and outside the home.

If you need to self-isolate and have no support from friends, family or neighbours, there is a network of services provided through local hubs that support and help those, if required, who are self-isolating. People who need help whilst isolating can get help online by calling 0345 045 5219.

Local contact tracing scheme

Councils across Cambridgeshire are running a countywide contact tracing service, working closely with NHS Test and Trace to contact people who have tested positive for Covid-19, giving them help, advice and support to self-isolate.

The countywide scheme launched on 19 November 2020 and is an expansion of the Peterborough contact tracing service which was set-up in August and proved valuable in keeping rates of the virus reduced.

Officers from each of the councils who have undergone special training in contact tracing, will be following up on people who have tested positive for Covid-19 but have not responded to a call or email from the national service, and will ask them for details of their close contacts.

The quicker we can reach people who’ve tested positive and get them to isolate - and get them to share details of who they’ve been in contact with - the quicker we can break the chain of infection.

A step-by-step guide to how the system works:

  • If the national NHS Test and Trace service is unable to make contact with anyone who tests positive with a Cambridgeshire or Peterborough postcode after 24 hours, they will refer the details into our new, local Cambridgeshire and Peterborough contact tracing team.
  • The local team will receive this information daily, seven days a week.
  • The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough team will contact people, initially by phone or text or email, and this will show up as a local number or come from an official council email address. The person will be asked to contact a local number.
  • If we can’t contact the person through phone/SMS/email after another 24 hours we will send a council officer to their address to speak to them personally.
  • We will provide advice, get details of their ‘contacts’ and then update the national system with this information.
  • The national process and service will then take over and contact the close contacts of the people we’ve been in contact with. The loop currently ends there for us in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
  • When we make contact we will also see if people need any support or help through the network of district and city support hubs – this could be financial support if people are unable to work, support to shop for food, get medication or undertake essential household chores etc.

As well as supporting with contact tracing, which involves identifying those people who may be infected as a result of contact with a positive case, the local contact tracing team also supports with backward contract tracing. This involves looking at how a person became infected to try and identify the events or places that led to the person becoming infected.

Phone calls from the local contact tracing team will come from the following number: 01223 758088. If you receive a call from this number, please answer and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Anyone who is concerned about being contacted can call the council or local community hub to check the identity of the tracer on 0345 045 5219.

Support is available for people who need to isolate who don’t have friends or family who can help them.

Isolation Support Service

This service is to help support those who have either had a positive test for Covid-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has had a positive test for Covid-19. The quicker we can reach people who are at risk of spreading the virus to support them to isolate, the quicker we can break the chain of infection.

​Aims of the Service

  • To support residents to remain in self-isolation, via the provision of phone contacts during the 10-day isolation period
  • ​To limit the spread of coronavirus​
  • ​To focus on removing barriers and persuading asymptomatic individuals to remain away from others
  • ​To reinforce the importance and legal requirements of self-isolation​

A step-by-step guide to how the service works

  • The NHS Test and Trace service will share data with us daily on who has been identified as needing to isolate
  • The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough team will contact you, initially by phone, and this will show up as a local number
  • If we cannot contact you by phone, we will either you an e-mail, text message or letter to ask you to contact us
  • When we do make contact, we will ask you if you’re self-isolating and we will also see if you need any support or help through the network of district and city support hubs. This could be financial support if you are unable to work, support to shop for food, get medication or undertake essential household chores etc. We may agree with you another call during their isolation period to check if you need any further support.

Isolation Support service for residents returning to the UK

Aims of the Service

  • To support travellers returning to the UK to remain in self isolation, via the provision of two support contacts during the 10-day isolation period. To reinforce the importance and legal requirements of self-isolation as associated with returning to the UK from Amber and Green countries.
  • To limit the spread of coronavirus and persuading asymptomatic individuals to remain away from others​
  • To focus on removing barriers to isolation through the provision of information and sign-posting​ to each individual focused on access to essential supplies and support to carry out practical tasks. Exploring the impact on mental health and wellbeing. ​
  • To provide information in relation to when Isolation periods can and should end and best practice with regard to ongoing testing moving forward.

If you’re concerned about being contacted, you can call the council or Covid-19 enquiry line to check the identity of the advisor on 0345 045 5219 option 1 for Cambridgeshire.

Support is available for people who need to isolate who don’t have friends or family who can help them

Self isolation payment

The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme is aimed at helping make up for any lost income people face due to having to stay at home and self-isolate.

You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the scheme.

Please contact your district or city council to find out more.

Local Outbreak Management Plan

This document describes the Outbreak Control Plan that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are adopting to help control and contain Coronavirus.

Updated 16.07.2021

  • Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps etc.) (England) (Revocation and Amendment) Regulations 2021. come into force at 11.55 pm on 18 July 2021.
  • Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, is extended until 27 September 2021.
  • These regulations will enable local authorities to respond to serious and imminent public health threats. All other Coronavirus legislation has been revoked. The Government will publish an updated COVID-19 contain outbreak management framework for local areas in due course.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Outbreak Management Plan. Version 4848KBpdf
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