Town halls team up with NHS Test and Trace
- Credit: PA
Town halls have teamed up with NHS Test and Trace in a bid to reach more people with Covid-19.
Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Newham are among 100 authorities to launch a local tracing scheme which has been hailed by the service as combining neighbourhood level knowledge with national resources.
Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Beating Covid-19 involves everyone working together across both national and local government.
“We are delighted to have 100 authorities on board so we can continue to improve contact tracing to control the virus and save lives.
“By combining their specialist expertise with the data and resources of NHS Test and Trace, we can ensure we make successful contact with as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” Baroness Harding added.
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The tie up with town halls was piloted in July in Leicester where people have spent months in a local lockdown.
The way it works is a team of contact tracers are assigned areas to help reach as many people as possible who have received a positive test result.
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If they are unable to make contact with a person within 24 hours, a borough’s public health officials follow up and if necessary visit people’s homes.
Borough contact tracers also provide information to people who have tested positive and other members of their household.
By finding out more about where people might have caught the virus they could help identify possible outbreaks.
Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England, said: “Contact tracing is essential to helping reduce the spread of Covid-19 and getting outbreaks under control.
“Working with public health professionals and other colleagues in London’s boroughs is essential to provide insight and extra resource to enhance the NHS Test and Trace programme.”
The other London authorities taking part are City of London, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Southwark.
NHS Test and Trace reports having told 20,479 people in the capital to isolate when they might otherwise have unwittingly spread the virus.
The service registered 87,918 cases in England in the first week of October which it says is an increase of 155 per cent on the week before.