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Test and Trace – what businesses and staff need to know

by Gemma Melling

The NHS Test and Trace programme plays a vital role in ensuring that Covid19 cases reduce and the infection stops spreading.

It works by identifying people who may unknowingly spread the virus because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

If you are displaying symptoms – high temperature, new or persistent cough or a loss of taste or smell – then you must stay at home and get tested. Others in your household should also stay at home.

If you test positive you need to self isolate for 10 days and others in your household for 14 days. The NHS Test and Trace Service will contact you to identify people that you have been in close contact with – within 2m for more than 15 minutes. They will then be contacted and asked to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they aren’t displaying symptoms, as they could (unknowingly) spread the virus to others.

With so much information out there about Covid19 and Test and Trace, we’ve developed some Frequently Asked Questions aimed at both employers and staff.

For staff, the FAQs tell you what symptoms to look out for, what to do if you display symptoms, whether you can work if you’ve received a positive test result, how long you and others in your household need to self isolate for, what support is available to you if you need to self isolate and steps you can take to help to prevent the spread of the virus.

For employers, there’s guidance on the role of employers in Test and Trace, what you need to do if a member of staff shows symptoms in the workplace, how long staff need to self isolate for, how others in the workplace could be affected if someone tests positive, conducting risk assessments, who to notify in the event of an outbreak, support you can provide to staff who are self isolating, how test and trace works.

It’s really important that everyone plays their part in helping to reduce the spread of the virus. This can be done by:

  • Maintaining social distancing – a close contact is decribed as someone within 2m for 15 minutes or more – so it wouldn’t take much for you to have to self isolate if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
  • If you an work from home, you should.
  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Continue to maintain regular hand washing.
  • Carry a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes and then dispose of the tissue.
  • Wear a face covering on public transport, when visiting a hospital setting and in other public places such as shops.