Local contact tracing
Self-isolating if you have tested positive for Covid-19, or if you have been identified as a close contact and you are aged over 18 and 6 months and are not double vaccinated, is extremely important in order to help control and stop the spread of the virus.
If you test positive for Covid-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days, immediately. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, who is over 18 and not double vaccinated must also self-isolate for 10 days from when you start self-isolating.
You will need to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact so that, if needed, they can self-isolate too. Local contact tracing for Covid-19 works in partnership to support and complement the national NHS Test and Trace system.
Local contact tracers are specially trained staff, who will contact local residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 but have not already been reached by the national NHS Test and Trace system. Local contact tracers will inform those residents of the legal need to self-isolate, request details of their close contacts so that they can be traced and will provide details of local advice and support.
This is a Berkshire-wide approach, and all six local authorities in the area will operate their own local contact tracing systems.
The diagram below shows how national and local contact tracing work together:
What is local contact tracing?
Local contact tracing for Covid-19 supports the national NHS Test and Trace system. Contact tracers will get in touch with local residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 but have not been reached by the national NHS Test and Trace system. Local contact tracers will inform those residents of the legal need to self-isolate, request details of their close contacts so that they can be traced, and will provide details of local advice and support. Self-isolation guidance (and translations) can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.
How will I know I am being contacted by local contact tracers?
You will receive a call from a local number – the same number will be used every time. You may receive a text in advance of the call. All local contact tracers are fully trained and will never ask for any financial information, passwords or payment.
What will the local contact tracer ask me?
Once they have confirmed they are speaking to the correct resident, they will remind you of the importance of self-isolating for 10 days from the day you first had symptoms, or 10 days from the date of your positive test if you had no symptoms (called asymptomatic). You will be asked to inform your employer that you will not go into work during these 10 days if you are unable to work from home, and that your employer must not ask you to come into work during this time. If you are unable to work from home and need support, local contact tracers will signpost you to local services.
The local contact tracer will also inform you that any household members who are aged over 18 and 6 months and not double vaccinated will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your symptoms or your positive test. They will also advise you on what to do if anyone in the household is clinically extremely vulnerable.
They will then ask about your whereabouts in the days leading up to your test or symptoms, so that they can take the contact details of close contacts and trace these people too.
What if I need support to self-isolate?
Local contact tracers will signpost you to local services if you or your household need support to self-isolate. You may be eligible to get a single payment of £500 if you need to self-isolate because of coronavirus (Covid-19) and you cannot work from home. Find out more here.
What if I am contacted and English isn’t my first language?
Local contact tracers will have access to interpretation services, so that they can make sure all residents can get support and understand what they need to do.