NHS Western Isles is asking people to play their part in helping stop the spread of coronavirus, as information on the Test & Protect service is sent to households 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 & 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 & 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.

Dr Maggie Watts, NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, 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 right away, 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.”

People can book a test at nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or, to access testing in the Outer Hebrides, contact the local COVID-19 Response Team on 01851 601151

or email:

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The phoneline will be staffed from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, with an answering machine available outwith those hours.  

Alternatively you can complete the online COVID-19 Testing Programme Referral Form at: www.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot (within the 'COVID-19 Testing - Test and Protect' section).

Information on additional support when isolating can be found at www.readyscotland.org/coronavirus