That’s the message for people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Currently those who have been in close contact (within 2 metres for 15 minutes or more) with a person with the virus and receive a call from the national Test & Trace programme are instructed to self-isolate for 14 days. This isolation period MUST be observed even in cases where individuals have a COVID-19 test that comes back negative.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care commented:
“I think most people are very clear of the need to self-isolate if they have been identified as being in contact with someone who has the virus. However, we are finding that many of these people don’t think the self-isolation rule still applies if they take a test and it comes back negative – that’s simply not the case.
The virus can take up to 14 days from exposure to develop so self-isolating for that full period of time is essential if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you take a test at the start of that period you may not have developed the virus at that point and your test could come back negative. But this doesn’t mean you aren’t going to develop the virus as you may already have been infected.
I know that this disruption can be difficult for people to manage on a practical level but it is part of our collective efforts to tackle the spread of the virus so we really need people to follow the guidance to protect those around them.”
Anyone contacted by the national Test & Trace system will be provided with guidance on steps to take – depending upon their circumstances. We have also produced some Frequently Asked Questions and answers with common queries and a bit more explanation about the process itself.
The virus can take up to 14 days from exposure to develop which is why people are asked to isolate for 14 days. If you develop any symptoms of a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to your taste or smell during this period you should book a test through www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119 and anyone in your household should then also isolate until you get your result.
If the test comes back positive you should self-isolate for 10 days from the first day you developed symptoms even if this means you are isolating for longer than 14 days in total. Your household should also isolate for 14 days from your onset of symptoms.
If the test comes back negative, your household can stop isolating but you still need keep self-isolating for 14 days from when you were last in contact with the person who has coronavirus – as you could still develop coronavirus after being tested.
Remember, it is our collective efforts to stop the spread of the virus that will help to keep you, your families and your communities safe. It will also help us return to a new normal as soon as possible and allow people to enjoy the things they have missed so much during lockdown.