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Wider symptom testing FAQ

What is the wider list of symptoms for testing for Covid-19?

The Betsi Cadwaladr Test, Trace, Protect Service asks people to consider taking a test if they have any of a wider list of symptoms, and these are new, persistent and/or unusual for them.

The symptoms are:

Flu-like symptoms, which are not caused by a known condition such as hay fever, including any or all of:

  • Myalgia (muscle ache or pain);
  • Excessive tiredness;
  • Persistent headache;
  • Runny or blocked nose;
  • Sore throat and / or hoarseness;
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing;
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

These are in addition to the three most common symptoms of Covid-19:

  • A fever;
  • A new continuous cough;
  • A loss / change of taste and / or smell.

Why have the symptoms changed?

Contact tracing teams in Wales have identified that a significant number of people who test positive for Covid-19 do not have any of the three main symptoms during the early stages of infection, or may never develop these symptoms.

All of the symptoms on the wider list are known symptoms for coronavirus. However, just because someone has one of the wider symptoms does not mean that they have Covid-19, but as overall case numbers drop, we are being extra cautious.

Does this list apply to children too?

Yes, the new list of symptoms applies to children and adults and the same steps should be followed whatever your age.

What if I don’t want to have my child tested for the wider list of symptoms?

Testing is your choice but if your child is unwell and Covid-19 is the cause then recognising this quickly helps you take steps to prevent other members of your household catching the virus, and reduces the risk that your child unknowingly exposes others such as grandparents, carers, teachers and friends, to Covid-19.

Do I need to self-isolate if I have any of the wider list of symptoms? 

No, individuals who take a test because of these other wider symptoms are not required to isolate while they await their test result. This includes school pupils or children in childcare settings who can continue to attend schools and childcare settings while they await a test result. However, children and adults with diarrhoea and or vomiting should remain off work or school or childcare settings until they are symptom free for 48 hours, even if their Covid-19 test is negative.

People with one or more of the three main COVID-19 symptoms (new persistent cough, fever and / or loss of taste or smell) must continue to follow Welsh Government guidance on testing and isolation and must self-isolate with their household while they wait for their test result.

What if I have recently had a lateral flow device (LFD) test, or regularly take one as part of my job?

Lateral flow device (LFD) tests, such as those used by school staff, are only used for people without symptoms. They should not be used to test for Covid-19 in anyone with symptoms.

What if I have recently had my first or second vaccination?

Having the vaccine does not alter the result of a test for Covid-19. Even if you’ve had one or two Covid-19 vaccinations, if you have any of the wider symptoms you should consider booking a test. Do not assume that any symptoms are a side-effect of vaccination.

Am I entitled to financial support while self-isolating?

The self-isolation support scheme is in place in Wales for people who must self-isolate and who can’t work from home. The scheme is also for parents and carers on low incomes, whose children are self-isolating.

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 you can apply for this support via your local council or through the NHS Covid-19 app.

Do I need to book a test if I have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19?

We are now offering testing to everyone identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. If this applies to you, the TTP team will contact you directly.

When people are identified as a contact by TTP, the team will get in touch and advise them to self-isolate and book a test. They will then be asked to take a second test up to seven days later. This will help us to identify more people with coronavirus and their close contacts. Doing so means we can help stop the virus spreading. 

If you are contacted, remember that taking a test is not an alternative to self-isolating.
If you’ve been identified as a close contact, it’s really important you complete the 10 days of isolation and take the two tests.

Even if you have a negative test, you should continue to isolate for the full 10 days and not go back to work or school.

Do I need to self-isolate if I live with, or have been in contact with, someone with one or more of the wider list of symptoms?

If you live with someone who is being tested because they have one of the new wider list of symptoms you do not need to isolate unless their test result comes back as positive.

However if you live with someone displaying one or more of the three classic Covid-19 symptoms (a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss / change of taste and smell) then you must isolate as a household while they wait for their result.

My college or university offers Covid-19 testing. Should I book a test using this service if I have one or more of the new list of symptoms?

If you have any symptoms of Covid-19, either one or more of the wider list of symptoms or one of more of the three main symptoms, you should book a test via the NHS. You can do this by online using the link on this page, or by calling 119. When booking online due to the wider list of symptoms, North Wales residents should select the option “you have been asked to take a test by your local council.”

If one of my children has one or more of the new wider list of symptoms, do I need to keep all of my children at home?

If your child has any of the three main symptoms of Covid-19 - a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss / change of taste and smell – then they must get a test and the whole household must self-isolate until you receive the result.

If your child has any of the new list of symptoms:

  • Myalgia (muscle ache or pain);
  • Excessive tiredness;
  • Persistent headache;
  • Runny or blocked nose;
  • Sore throat and/or hoarseness;
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.

They are encouraged to get a test. You don’t need to keep them at home while you wait for the test result. However it’s generally a good idea to stay away from work, college, nursery or school if you think you might be infectious with any germ or bug. However, siblings (brothers and sisters) can attend school or other childcare settings, such as nurseries, as usual.

If your child receives a positive test result, whatever their symptoms, the whole household must self-isolate. The Test, Trace, Protect team will contact you to advise what to do next.