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Test, Trace, Protect – what you need to know

Updated 20 August 2021

These commonly asked questions aim to help you understand how you can access a COVID-19 test in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire; and what may happen if you are contacted by the contact tracing teams.

If you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, you must book a test and provide information for contact tracing. Your support will help to keep Wales safe and reduce further transmission of the virus, which remains a very serious illness, especially for older people and those with existing risk factors.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?

It is advised that you get your test within five days if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • A new continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

To help identify hidden COVID-19 cases in our communities as new variants of the virus emerge, Hywel Dda University Health Board is also encouraging you to have a test if you have any of the following symptoms and they are new, persistent and/or unusual for you:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms, including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing; nausea; vomiting; or diarrhoea 
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

Testing FAQs

If you have any of the COVID-19 or wider symptoms outlined above, it is essential that you book a test. You can book a home testing kit which is sent to your home, or you can request a test locally. Booking is through:

or via the national bilingual telephone service by dialling 119 between the hours of 7am and 11pm (people with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119).

We know that some people have been some problems in booking a test – either not being offered one or being offered one a significant distance from their home. If this happens to you, please re-visit the site later in the day or evening as appointments refresh. There should be no need for you to accept a test a long way from your home as we provide testing within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

No, all of our tests are offered by prior arrangement and appointment only. This could negatively affect our ability to provide tests to those who need them.

It depends what way you book your test but you may need to provide:

  • Your symptoms
  • Your full name
  • Date of birth
  • Postcode
  • Email address (if available)
  • Current mobile phone number (test results are sent by text message) – if you don’t have a mobile number please include a landline number

You will receive a call back from a withheld/private number.

Public testing takes place locally from the following venues (for those who have booked appointments only)

Drive-through:

  • Carmarthen Showground, Carmarthen
  • Local Authority Car Park, Canolfan Rheidol, Aberystwyth
  • Pembrokeshire Archives Car Park, Haverfordwest
  • Dafen Yard, Heol Cropin, Dafen, Llanelli

Walk-in:

  • Local Authority Car Park, Canolfan Rheidol, Aberystwyth

It is important that you book the correct test site depending on whether you need a drive-through or walk-in appointment. Please do not use public transport or a taxi to attend a test site.

We also have a number of other venues for testing patients about to come into hospital or undergoing certain treatments, across the three counties. These venues are not publicly announced as they are for specific people by direct appointment, and are subject to different opening times and to change.

Please follow the instructions of staff at the site and stay in your car if it is a drive through. You may be asked for identification (ID), so please bring some with you. Please do not wind your car window down unless you are asked to do so. The test involves a swab being taken at the back of your throat and nose and you will be asked to do this yourself, staff will give you clear advice.

If you book an appointment at the walk-in site, please wear a face covering.

If you are the only person in the household with symptoms, we would advise you try to isolate within your home, away from your household members if at all possible. We do not therefore recommend someone comes with you to your test. It is particularly important for you to stay away from anyone who is at risk or extremely vulnerable. More advice can be found here. Ordering a home testing kit may be an option for you.

If multiple members of the family have symptoms of COVID-19, you can travel together but you must each have booked a test.

If you are a single parent, your child (or children) can attend with you.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) or wider cold or flu-like symptoms (including aches and pains, persistent headache or tiredness, runny/blocked nose, sore throat, shortness of breath), you should stay at home (self-isolate) and only leave you house to attend the test appointment.

After the test, you must continue to self-isolate until you receive a negative result. If you receive a positive test, you must stay at home (self-isolate) for 10 days from when your symptoms started.

Contact tracers will get in touch with all identified close contacts and provide advice according to their circumstances. This will include the offer of a PCR test and advice around self-isolation requirements. If a person is identified as a contact, they will not be required to self-isolate if they have been fully vaccinated or are under 18. However there may be certain circumstances, such as if a new variant of concern were circulating, where fully vaccinated and under 18s contacts may be required by Test, Trace, Protect to self-isolate. You should always self-isolate if asked to do so by a contact tracer This is set out in the contact tracing guidance (opens in new tab). A positive test will also result in a person being contacted by a contact tracer on behalf of the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service.

If a person receives a negative test they no longer need to stay at home (self-isolate).

When a person tests positive for COVID-19 our contact tracing team will get in touch with people who have been in close contact with them. If you are deemed to be a close contact of your colleague who has tested positive, a member of the contact tracing team will be in touch. If you are not contacted, you will not have been considered a close contact. Only members of the workforce who are symptomatic will require testing. For more information about the definition of a close contact, please go to the Welsh Government website. If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, please book a test.

If you have travelled to an exempt country and you are well, with no COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to self-isolate and will be able to attend at work. If you have returned from a quarantined country, you must self-isolate for 10 days even if you do not have symptoms. If you have symptoms, please stay at home (self-isolate) and book a test.

We are not able to offer tests for travellers or holidaymakers about to go abroad who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. You could try to arrange a private test.

You will be contacted directly and offered a test if required and given instruction on where to attend for a test and when.

We advise you to speak to your doctor about arrangements for a private test.

People who are unable to work from home (including volunteers) and can’t access COVID-19 testing directly through their workplace, can order a lateral flow self-test kit to be delivered direct to their home from: https://gov.wales/get-rapid-lateral-flow-covid-19-tests-if-you-do-not-have-symptoms

Alternatively, testing kits can be collected locally from most community pharmacies across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. This is part of the national Pharmacy LFD Collect service recently launched by Welsh Government – More information on participating pharmacies near you.

It is recommended that tests are undertaken twice a week with the results - negative or positive -recorded on the UK Government portal (www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result).   

This additional testing provision has been introduced across Wales by the Welsh Government as part of its plans to gradually ease restrictions. It does not change how people with symptoms already access COVID-19 testing locally or Welsh Government’s current advice to work from home wherever possible.

If the LFD test result is negative, the individual is safe to attend work. 

If the result is positive, the individual must book a COVID-19 PCR test for the same afternoon via the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus or by calling 119 in the usual way. Individuals and their household members must self-isolate while awaiting their PCR test result.

Regardless of a previous negative LFD or PCR test, anyone who develops symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) or other cold or flu-like symptoms (headaches, tiredness general aches and pains), even if mild, should self-isolate and book a test as soon as possible through the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Watch a short video demonstration of how to take the test.

Both the RT-PCR test and lateral flow test require a swab to be taken from the nose and throat. The RT-PCR is used for those who are experiencing symptoms and the swab is analysed in a lab.

Whereas, a lateral flow test is used for those not experiencing symptoms and the swab can be analysed using a lateral flow device at home, so the results can be returned within an hour. While LFDs are not as sensitive as lab-based RT-PCR tests, scientific advice has indicated that by testing more frequently with LFDs, their accuracy is on a par with RT-PCR tests and this is why we repeat the tests on a twice weekly basis.

People who have tested positively for COVID-19 will be contacted by phone by a local team member to speak to them about what they need to do next to protect themselves and others.

Contact tracing is a tried and tested way of reducing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. It will help us understand how the disease is passing from person to person. It aims to protect your health and help us live with the virus and find treatments and a vaccine. It is not about enforcement or surveillance.

If you have had a positive COVID-19 result or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 you will receive a call from this number - 02921 961133. Please answer the phone to the team. Calls from this number are outbound only, so you will not be able to call it back to speak to a contact tracer or advisor and will need to wait for them to call you back.

Tracing the people an infected person has been in contact with, helps people be aware of their risk and to give quick advice given to them to prevent further spread. Tracing also helps the Government and health services to find treatments and a vaccine.

Tracers will ask you to confirm your identity through asking you to confirm your full name, date of birth and address prior to moving onto questioning. You will also be asked for details of members of your household.

The tracing team member will provide advice on the next steps to be taken following a positive test result, for example on staying at home (self-isolating) and things like advice on hand washing and other hygiene measures for you and your household.

They will also gather information on the places you have visited recently and the names and contact details of people you were in close contact with in the 14 days before your symptoms started. This will help them in trying to identify the source of the infection, as well as anyone who may have been exposed to the virus during the individual’s infectious period.

Contact tracers will get in touch with all identified close contacts and provide advice according to their circumstances.

You will never be asked:

  • For bank, PIN or payment details as there is no cost to being part of the testing or tracing programme.
  • For personal information about other accounts such as social media accounts.
  • To call any premium numbers such as those beginning with 09 and 087.
  • To set up a password or PIN number over the phone

You will never be asked:

  • For bank, PIN or payment details as there is no cost to being part of the testing or tracing programme.
  • For personal information about other accounts such as social media accounts.
  • To call any premium numbers such as those beginning with 09 and 087.
  • To set up a password or PIN number over the phone

When a person tests positive for COVID-19 our contact tracing team will get in touch with people who have been in close contact with them. If you are a close contact, a member of the contact tracing team will call you. If you are not contacted, you will not have been considered a close contact.

Contact tracers will get in touch with all identified close contacts and provide advice according to their circumstances.

 If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms in future, please book a test.

The COVID-19 App aims to help track, monitor and control the spread for coronavirus. The app works by logging the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other. The app will also advise you to stay at home (self-isolate) if you have been in close contact with a positive case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a free test if needed and get your test results.

The app is available for smartphones only - not tablets, smartwatches or other devices.

To get started, go to Android's Google Play or Apple's App Store and search for "NHS COVID-19". The handsets must have Android 6.0 (released in 2015) or iOS 13.5 (released in May 2020) and Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. That excludes the iPhone 6 and older versions of Apple's handsets.

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