NHS Borders Trace and Protect system is rolled out

With lockdown restrictions easing slightly from today, the Test and Protect system has been rolled out in the Borders so that the region is well placed to avoid a second spike of coronavirus infection.

By Kevin Janiak
Friday, 29th May 2020, 12:15 pm
Health secretary, Jeanne Freeman.
Health secretary, Jeanne Freeman.

But how does it work?

It involves those with symptoms, including a new continuous cough, fever or loss or change of smell or taste, booking a test and isolating with their household.

If they have a positive test result, they will be asked to provide details of all recent close contacts to NHS contact tracers. Those people will be contacted and also asked to isolate for 14 days.

Anyone in Scotland aged five or over, who is self-isolating because they are showing symptoms should be tested through the national testing programme by visiting nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or by calling 0800 028 2816 if cannot get online.

Further information about the national testing programme can be found on the Scottish Government website.

NHS Borders started contact tracing yesterday (May 28), which carried out by its own COVID-19 contact tracing team.

It’s wholly dependent on those testing positive detailing who they were in contact with 48 hours prior to the onset of symptom, up until the time they isolated.

And it will also be incumbent on those who are contacted by the team to also self-isolate for 14 days.

Speaking yesterday, health secretary Jeanne Freeman said: “As we begin to ease some of the lockdown measures, in order to keep the virus suppressed, we will also need to trace your close contacts and advise them to isolate for 14 days, with support.

“It is only by all playing our part, getting tested, providing information and agreeing to isolate, that we can cut the numbers of people getting the virus.”

There are nine contact tracers working in the Borders area per shift, with the service operating seven days per week.

They will ask a series of questions to understand who the person with COVID-19 has spent time with in their infectious period and where, including members of their household, or people who have been within two metres of them. NHS Borders said that confidentiality will be maintained during this process.

Tests can be booked at nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or by calling 0800 028 2816 if you can’t get online.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are new continuous cough or fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater), or a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia).

Full guidance and information is available on NHS Inform’s coronavirus page - www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus