Testing for COVID-19

Testing for COVID-19

What do we mean by testing?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are various methods that you may see being utilised to ascertain whether you may be at risk of infection. Rapid measures include checks for symptoms including fever (temperature) scanning on entry to buildings. More thorough testing involves taking samples/ swabs to test for infection.

What methods will be utilised as we exit lock-down?

In order to facilitate the loosening of regulations/ moving away from lock-down, a more aggressive strategy is required with regards to the isolation of individuals who test positive. In addition to testing people with symptoms of COVID-19, we will test people who work in close proximity to a vulnerable group (for example healthcare workers and carers) on a regular basis.

Individuals identified as positive will be contacted by the CTB and asked to isolate for 7-10 days.Read more HERE. Close contacts of the individual will need to follow latest guidance for self-isolation.

You can read more about data protection and your privacy here.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a targeted method for breaking chain of transmission from one person to another and a fundamental part of outbreak control used by public health professionals. Contact tracing helps to control the ‘R’ number of a virus.

When a person tests positive for COVID-19 they are contacted, and as part of the interview process they are asked to identify anyone who has had close contact with them. For young adults under 18 years of age, the CTB will make contact by phone (wherever possible) and ask for the parent or guardian’s permission to continue the call.

A close contact will have:

  • come from the same household
  • been within 2 metres of the infected person for 15 minutes or more
  • come into direct contact with infected fluids (from a cough, sneeze or blood sample etc .)

For current guidance on self-isolation for those identified as close contacts, click HERE.

Individuals who have been granted vaccination exemption by the Director of Public Health may be required to self-isolate depending on level of contact with a positive case. Each case will be assessed individually by the CTB.

What is meant by incubation period?

Most people who become infected with COVID-19 develop symptoms around five or six days after exposure (as opposed to straight away), although this can range from one to 14 days.

Why is this important?

The self-isolation period for those required to home isolate is 7-10 days by which time most people will have developed symptoms if they have become infected(Read latest guidance HERE).  Adherence to home isolation is very important in order to control viral spread, particularly as we begin to relax lock-down measures.

Those who are close contacts that have been told they do not need to self-isolate will be instructed to:
• Wear a mask when out in public and at work
• Minimise social contacts, especially with vulnerable or unvaccinated people
• Call 111, take a test and self-isolate immediately if symptoms of COVID-19 develop