The data collected between 27 September and 2 October 2021 show that the majority (78%) of all individuals who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) reported fully adhering to the requirements throughout their self-isolation period.
The level of adherence with self-isolation requirements was broadly in line with the level reported in June and July 2021 (79% in both months) but statistically significantly lower compared with adherence levels earlier in the year (84% in April 2021 and 86% in May 2021).
Approximately one in five people (22%) reported carrying out at least one activity during self-isolation that was not adherent to the requirements, for example, leaving the home or having visitors for reasons not permitted under legislation.
Adherence with self-isolation requirements was statistically significantly lower between the onset of symptoms requiring self-isolation and receiving a positive test result (75%), compared with the 24 hours following a positive result (99%) and the remainder of the self-isolation period (95%).
The majority (76%) of those who tested positive for coronavirus reported having no contact with non-household members while they had any symptoms of illness or during the self-isolation period.
Approximately a third (34%) of those who tested positive reported that self-isolation had a negative effect on their well-being and mental health.
Coronavirus and self-isolation after testing positive in England
Dataset | Released 1 November 2021
Behaviour of individuals required to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19, from the COVID Test and Trace Cases Insights Survey. Includes information on the impact of self-isolation on well-being and finances. Experimental Statistics.
Self-isolation refers to not leaving your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19). It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. In addition to staying at home, if you are self-isolating you should not have visitors unless the purpose of the visit is to provide essential care. Your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the positive test result if you do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days. If you still have symptoms after 10 days, you must continue self-isolating until they are gone.
For further information please see the NHS guidance on when and how to self-isolate.
Symptoms that require an individual to self-isolate prior to a positive test result are a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste (see the NHS guidance on when and how to self-isolate).
Symptoms reported by respondents that do not require self-isolation prior to a positive test, if not experienced alongside a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste are:
shortness of breath or trouble breathing
runny or stuffy nose
muscle or body aches
severe stomach pain
The latest quality and methodology information on data from the COVID Test and Trace Cases Insights Survey can be found in the Coronavirus and self-isolation after testing positive in England methodology.
Estimates for Wave 7
This is the seventh bulletin in this series. The seventh wave of data was collected between 27 September and 2 October 2021. The number of respondents was 881.
Respondents were sampled through the Contact Tracing and Advisory Service (CTAS) database, held by NHS Test and Trace, using implicit stratification. Respondents were aged 18 years and over, had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and reached day 10 of their self-isolation period between 26 and 29 September 2021.
The majority (99%) of respondents were interviewed within four days following the end of their self-isolation period (days 11 to 14). The remaining 1% of respondents were interviewed between five and six days (days 15 to 16) after the end of self-isolation.
Of the potential respondents who were successfully contacted by an interviewer, the response rate was 60%. When including cases where contact was attempted but not made, the response rate was 17%.
A low response rate can be expected, as the target population was likely unwell with COVID-19 and so less likely to participate.
Percentages in this report are based on weighted counts that are representative of the population of adults (aged 18 years and over) who had tested positive for COVID-19 and began their self-isolation period between 30 August and 26 September 2021.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1633 580167