Information on the Test and Protect service is to be sent to households in Orkney from this week.
People with symptoms – which include a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss or change in taste or smell – are being urged to book a test immediately as part of the national effort to continue to suppress the virus.
Those who test positive will be asked to confidentially provide information to NHS Scotland contact tracers on the people they’ve been in close contact with. Those then contacted will be asked to isolate for 14 days to reduce the risk of the virus spreading, and told how to request a test if symptoms develop during this time.
Test and Protect is the next important step in fighting coronavirus, and people across the country are being asked to take these necessary steps to break the chains of transmission as lockdown restrictions slowly change.
As well as explaining how Test and Protect works, the leaflet provides information on how families and households can plan for being asked to isolate immediately, and the support that is available.
Research shows there is a high level of support nationally for testing measures to control the spread of the virus, with 90 per cent of respondents stating they’d be willing to isolate for 14 days if someone they had come into contact with had symptoms of the virus, 90 per cent stating they’d be willing to undergo testing if asked, and 88 per cent stating they’d be happy to provide details of people they had been in contact with if they developed coronavirus symptoms.
Sara Lewis, consultant in public health at NHS Orkney, said:
“Test and Protect plays a vital role in protecting all of us by helping to break the chains of coronavirus transmission and it can only work if everyone plays their part.
“If you suspect you have symptoms, we need you to book a test as quickly as possible, because the quicker the virus can be identified, the better chance there is of stopping it spreading.
“Please keep the leaflet handy and follow the step-by-step guidance. It’s important to think about the practicalities of you and your household needing to isolate immediately. So please make a plan now.
“For this to work, we need your help. Taking these steps, along with physical distancing, good cough and hand hygiene, and wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, will help keep the virus under control and allow us to continue to emerge from lockdown.”
How to Book a Test
NHS Orkney has set up a dedicated helpline for people to use to book a test – 01856 888211. The service is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 7pm and Saturday from 9.30am to 12pm. By offering local tests NHS Orkney is able to provide a more rapid response.
People can also book a test at nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or call 0800 028 2816 if they can’t get online.
Information on additional support when isolating can be found at www.readyscotland.org/coronavirus