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Test, Trace, Protect, still critical as restrictions are eased

CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S Test, Trace and Protect team is urging people who have tested positive to Covid-19 to continue to engage with them as restrictions are eased and asking others to continue taking extra care to prevent further spread of the virus.

The Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) team’s work is vital in helping reduce the spread of the Coronavirus by identifying recent contacts of people who have tested positive and giving them advice.

Last week the Welsh Government pledged £4 million across Hywel Dda to extend the programme, which is critical to limiting the spread of infection, until September.

As the number of positive cases in Carmarthenshire continues to drop the team are now able to focus on backward tracing up to 14 days to try and identify sources of transmission and common locations.

Staff are on hand seven days a week and are immediately alerted to new positive cases in the county throughout the day and night.

New changes around the testing of close contacts have come into force. This means that if someone is identified as a close contact of a person who has tested positive for Coronavirus, they will be advised by contact tracers to book a Covid-19 test as soon as possible at the start of their self-isolation period, and again on day eight. If these tests are negative, people will still need to complete the ten-day self-isolation period, as it can take that long or more for symptoms to develop, or for the virus to appear in their system.

These changes do not apply to those who are already part of a regular testing initiative such as schools and care homes.

The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr Philip Hughes said: “As we slowly start to open our community back up it is vital that you still engage fully with the Test Trace Protect Service.  If you are contacted by one of our tracers, you must self-isolate for 10 days to ensure we are nipping any possible spread of the virus in the bud at the very earliest opportunity.  If you have been identified as a contact of a positive individual, you will be invited to go for a test regardless of symptoms on day one and day eight of your isolation period.  Early identification is vital of any positive cases so that we can shut down any onward possible transmission. Please remember to wear you face covering, keep two metres apart and wash or sanitise your hands frequently and this also applies to people who have had the vaccine. The last thing any of us needs is for cases to rise again, so what we do now is critical in how we move forward.”

Incidence rate as of Monday March 15 – 24.9 per 100,000 population.