Aldershot News & Mail : 2020-07-08

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M oving out of lockdown is a big step for the country and thousands of NHS Test and Trace workers are playing a vital role to keep people safe. The service brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management to control the rate of reproducti­on (R). So if you get a call from one of the team to say you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus they’ll ask you to isolate for 14 days. And if you’ve tested positive, they’ll ask you to retrace your steps to tell them who you’ve been in close contact with. But their job is so much more than that, as the contact tracers we spoke to told us. One of them is Sarah Hartle, 34, from Manchester who’s a dental nurse and had just qualified as a hygienist when the UK went into lockdown. She answered an email asking FRIENDLY VOICES May (left) and Sarah (right) One lady said to me, ‘Can you call every day as this has made me feel so much better’ healthcare profession­als to join the virtual frontline and now works as an NHS Clinical Contact Caseworker. Talking to people over the phone, Sarah noticed how much people had suffered in isolation. “One lady said to me: ‘Please can you call me every day because this has made me feel so much better’,” she says. “It is just having someone to listen. So much of it is about reassuranc­e.” One of her first cases was a mum whose family had coronaviru­s. “She seemed to feel so guilty about it,” says Sarah. “The whole family tested positive for it – the dad, a toddler and a young baby, and she was convinced she had given it to all of them and felt so bad. “She was so emotional and it was one of those where she needed some support. Her partner couldn’t get out of bed he was so ill and the whole family was really struggling. “They were all isolating and she just needed someone to How thousands of NHS Test and Trace workers are here them know about the practical support that is out there too – like whether the council can help with the grocery shop.” up a support group and gathered a group of friends to create a new food bank. Now May, 54, from Hampshire, is working as a contact tracer. “One of my first questions is to find out how they are. Really, how are they?” says May. “If they’ve tested positive it’s quite a scary time and quite often they’re really pleased that someone’s asking about them and their symptoms. I quite often say to people, ‘Please don’t be worried’. They’re not in trouble at all and it’s really important to identify the people that may have been put at risk during the time when they’ve just been carrying out their day to day life.” May is able to give advice on how to manage symptoms and what to do after receiving a listen to her. I told her of course it was OK that the whole family wasn’t having proper meals – and that just grabbing something to keep them going was just fine. “So not only am I there to talk symptoms and advice on the medical side, but also the mental side too – offering emotional support. “And then there is letting positive test result – and she’ll also help people retrace their steps to find out who they’ve been in contact with. “One of my first cases was to contact an elderly gentleman who had tested positive whilst going through screening ahead of his cancer surgery. He was naturally incredibly worried that he had tested positive and that this meant a delay to his M ay Li has spent 35 years as a nurse and now brings arts and crafts activities to care homes. When coronaviru­s hit she was desperate to do something more to help, so set PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­r.com +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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