THE NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service is now well underway across Carmarthenshire to track the virus and give extra protection to our communities.

Anyone who has been in contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 may be contacted as part of this and asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days, and to request a test if they show any symptoms of the virus. A contact advisor will get in touch with the individual to provide advice and support.

Test, Trace, Protect works by:

Testing those people have coronavirus symptoms, asking them to isolate from wider family, friends and their community whilst taking a test and waiting for a result. Read further information on what you can do to protect yourself and others. If you are displaying symptoms, you can apply for a coronavirus test;

Tracing those people who have been in close contact with the symptomatic/tested person, requiring them to take precautions through self-isolation (see above);

Providing advice and guidance, particularly if the person who has symptoms or their contacts are in the shielding group or the at-risk group. vulnerable or at greater risk; and

Ensuring that if the symptoms are not due to coronavirus, individuals and their contacts can get back to their normal routines as soon as possible.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature);

a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual); and

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a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, you should take a coronavirus test within the first five days of developing symptoms – this is when the test is most effective. If you test positive you will be asked to share details of contacts you may or may not live with, and with whom you have been in close proximity on any occasion during a period beginning up to two days before you started experiencing symptoms, including:

someone within 1 metre of you with whom you have had a face-to-face-conversation, had skin-to-skin physical contact, you have coughed on, or had other forms of contact within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer;

someone within 2 metres of you for more than 15 minutes; and

someone you have travelled in a vehicle with – or seated near you in public transport.

This information will help the contact tracing teams to identify how quickly the virus is spreading and whether there are hotspots of infection.

This is not about enforcement or surveillance and is in the interests of protecting your health and the health of your contacts. These contacts will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days to ensure that they do not have the virus. They will only be advised to take a test if they are displaying symptoms – testing while asymptomatic can generate false negatives and is not recommended for these reasons.

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