Test, trace, protect
The Test, Trace, Protect strategy published on 13 May was implemented across Wales from 1 June.
This strategy sets out the approach to tackling coronavirus: testing people with symptoms in the community, tracing those who have come into close contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus, and protecting family, friends and our community by self-isolating.
The Welsh Government COVID-19 Testing Strategy was published on the 15th July. The strategy outlines how Wales’ testing capacity will be used to support contact tracing by controlling and preventing transmission of the virus, protecting our NHS services, protecting the most vulnerable groups and utilises developments in future technology to better understand the virus.
In summary this process works by:
testing those people who have coronavirus symptoms, asking them to isolate from family, friends and their community whilst taking a test and waiting for a result. You can apply for a test for yourself or someone in your household with symptoms. This includes adults and children, including under 5s.
tracing those who have been in close contact with people that have tested positive for the virus, requiring them to take precautions through self-isolation
providing advice and guidance, particularly if the person who has symptoms or their contacts are in groups at increased risk of Covid-19
ensuring that if the symptoms are not due to coronavirus, individuals and their contacts can end their self-isolation period and get back to their normal routines as soon as possible.
If a child or staff member receives a test and that test is positive, they should self-isolate and report their symptoms to the childcare setting or their employer. In the event of a positive test, a contact tracer will contact the person tested to help identify potential contacts. A second contact tracer will then get in touch with those contacts and advise them to self-isolate for 14 days from their last contact with the individual who tested positive. These people will only be required to take a test if they develop symptoms.
It will be important that settings have a clear policy in place for the advent of a positive test for a child in their care or an adult working in the setting. They should require that the setting is informed, and enable them to follow up with all people who came into contact with that person during their time in the setting. They may need to share contact details of staff and children with the NHS Contact Tracers and must ensure they have the consent of all individuals accessing the setting to do this. Where children under 16 are contacted, consent of a parent, carer or guardian will be required to proceed with gathering information. Alternatively, a parent or guardian would be able to provide contact tracers with the information on behalf of their child.
People are considered as potential contacts if they were in contact with the person who has tested positive during a period beginning up to two days before symptom onset and ending when the case entered home isolation. This is based on current understanding of the main period of infectivity.
A contact is defined as someone who has had close contact during this period, specifically:
within 1 metre of the index case and has been coughed on, had a face to face conversation, had skin to skin physical contact, or been in other forms of contact within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer
within 2 metres of the person testing positive for more than 15 minutes
have travelled in a vehicle with the person who has tested positive or seated near in public transport.
This is likely to mean that the small group within which the child has been receiving care or for which the staff member has been providing care will have to self-isolate for 14 days.