NHS Test and Trace is part of the national COVID-19 recovery strategy. It aims to:
- ensure that anyone who develops symptoms can quickly be tested
- test asymptomatic NHS and social care staff and care home residents (asymptomatic means people without symptoms of COVID-19)
- trace close recent contacts of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19
The free NHS Covid-19 app is a vital part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England. Play your part by downloading the NHS app to your mobile phone.
Test and Trace has four elements:
Rapid testing, at scale, to identify and treat those with COVID-19.
Integrated tracing to identify, alert, and support those who need to self-isolate.
Identify outbreak using testing and other data, contain locally, and minimise spread.
Use knowledge of COVID-19 to inform decisions on social and economic restrictions.
Each element requires close working between national, regional and local partners.
If you have symptoms, you can be tested to find out if you have COVID-19 now.
This test is called the ‘antigen’ or ‘swab’ test. Tests are usually self-administered but support can be made available on request.
You can book an antigen test in Middlesbrough by going to the NHS website or by calling 119. This could be:
- at the regional testing site at Cannon Park in the town centre
- by post
- at a Mobile Testing Unit
The regional testing drive-through site at Cannon Park has capacity for 800 tests a day. It is open from 8am to 8pm every day.
A testing kit can be posted to your home with instructions on how to use it and send it back.
There are also 12 Mobile Testing Units in the North East. These can be rapidly deployed to outbreaks or specific settings. They generally operate from 10am to 3pm, and a forward plan of locations is available.
In addition to this:
- all patients admitted to hospital or discharged to a care home are tested
- symptomatic residents in care homes are tested
- care homes can arrange tests for any or all residents by phoning 01642 065070 (8am to 8pm)
All NHS Trusts provide testing for staff. Other health and social care staff, and essential workers, can arrange for testing through a direct booking system. Care home staff and their families with symptoms can book tests by emailing Stees.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NHS is conducting testing needs assessment for health and social care in the north east. This will help us to understand the volume and frequency of testing needed now and in the future. It will also help us understand and address inequalities in accessing testing.
The NHS leads on contract tracing of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Call handlers will trace all close contacts of positive cases. These are people who have been in recent close contact with someone who has tested positive. This could be because they:
- live in the same house as them
- are their sexual partner
- have been within 1 metre of them
- have been sneezed or coughed on by them
- have been within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes
- have travelled in a vehicle with them
When contacted, close contacts will be advised to self-isolate for 14 days. Most cases will be resolved through call handlers. The government is also developing mobile phone technology to support contact tracing.
More complex cases are passed to the North East Health Protection Team. These include where people testing positive have recently attended:
- an education or childcare setting
- work, and can’t identify all contacts
- healthcare settings
- daycare centres
The team will also look at cases related to:
- care homes, prisons, or shelters for vulnerable groups
- workers in healthcare, emergency, or immigration services
They will also become involved where contacts are unwilling to provide information.
The Health Protection Team will work with partners to follow up cases and decide what action is needed. This could include mobilising local testing, providing advice, and alerting communities. The team will update a single point of contact at the Council twice a day.
Confirmed cases may also be reported directly to the Health Protection Team. In these cases, the team will undertake contact tracing. Only in exceptional circumstances will the Council play a direct role in contact tracing.
Early identification is critical to containing an outbreak. Outbreaks in Middlesbrough will be managed by the Operational Response Team and escalated to the Health Protection Board if necessary.
We will ensure that our plan is regularly updated in line with international and national research on COVID-19, and our local experience within Middlesbrough.