The new national NHS ‘Test and Trace’ programme – designed to help fight the spread of coronavirus - is now available in Hertfordshire.

The programme has been introduced by the Government in a bid to keep the virus under control while the lockdown continues to ease across the country.

It is hoped that the system will avoid the need for national lockdowns, with more local restrictions used instead if necessary.

How does it work:

Anyone who has a positive coronavirus test will be contacted by someone from the NHS Test and Trace team.

They will be told to self-isolate for 14 days and will be asked to supply the details of anyone who has been in close contact with them, from the two days before their symptoms started.

Those people will then also be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team and told that they need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Health officials have stressed that it is “very important for your own health and the health of those around you” that people self-isolate if instructed – even if they feel well and do not have symptoms.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is the public’s “civic duty” to stay at home if they are told to.

How will the NHS Test and Trace team contact me:

Genuine contact tracers will contact people on 0300 013 5000 or send text messages from ‘NHS’.

They will also ask people to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website.

People will also be asked:

• For their full name and date of birth to confirm their identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating

• About the coronavirus symptoms they have been experiencing

• To provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone they have had close contact with from the two days before their symptoms started

• If anyone they have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England.

Where can I have a coronavirus test and how do I book:

Hertfordshire’s three mobile testing centres in Watford, Hertford and Stevenage will still run on their usual days between 10am-4pm, for anyone with suspected coronavirus symptoms.

People booking a test should do this the day before – but now this can be done over the phone as well as online.

Anyone wanting to phone should ring 119 between 7am-11pm.

The coronavirus call centre can help people to book a test, answer enquiries about the testing process and what to do once they have your result, or chase up any delayed results.

To book a test online, visit

People with symptoms can book either a mail-order or drive-through test if they need one.

The Hertfordshire test sites open on:

Thursdays and Sundays in Watford at the Central Watford leisure centre, WD17 3HA

On Saturdays in Hertford at County Hall, Pegs Lane, SG13 8DQ 

On Mondays in Stevenage, off Six Hills Way, SG1 2DF. Follow the signs to the test centre, to ensure that you do not join a queue for the Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Health officials are urging people to bring a phone to the test centre if they have one.

New antibody tests also becoming available in Hertfordshire

Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 antibody blood test, which shows whether someone has been exposed to the virus in the past, is beginning to be rolled out to NHS staff in Hertfordshire.

The test is starting to become available to those who want to take part and is carried out by a healthcare professional, taking a sample of blood.

Although the test can tell somebody that they have had the virus in the past, this does not necessarily mean that they are immune to getting it in future.

The test is designed to help the government and scientists to gain a better understanding of how the virus spreads and how different areas have been affected.