Local Covid-19 contact tracing system goes live across Dacorum
A Covid-19 contact tracing system, implemented at a local level to back up NHS Test and Trace, has been further rolled out right across Dacorum and wider Hertfordshire today (1 October 2020).
In partnership with Public Health England, and the 10 district and borough councils - including Dacorum - and Hertfordshire County Council has developed and launched the system which will see council staff support the efforts to locate people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Of those people in England transferred to the national contact tracing system between 10 September and 16 September, 77.7% were reached and asked to provide information about their contacts – this was down from 83.9% in the previous week.
A pilot contact tracing initiative, managed by the relevant district and borough councils, has been up-and-running in Three Rivers and Watford since 15 September, and continues to operate – though it is expected this and the wider county service will eventually merge.
If, after 24 hours, the national test and trace system team has been unable to get in touch with a specific Hertfordshire resident, their details will be passed to the local service - this essentially means that the county council will use local knowledge and expertise in order to quickly make contact with someone potentially at risk, and ultimately to get in touch with others who could be affected.
After another 24 hours, if the local contact tracing team also hasn’t managed to speak to the person by phone using a locally recognisable number, they will pass that information to the district and borough council Environmental Health teams, who will visit them at their home to explain who to call, providing a local number to phone. The residents will be given advice and guidance to help them self-isolate for the time needed, as well as being asked if Herts Help can support in any way, such as with food deliveries, collecting medication or debt advice.
Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Our local contact tracing service exists to support the national test and trace system, and the pilot initiative is already showing the benefits as people have been contacted that the national system couldn’t reach.
“Test and trace is an extremely important part of the national strategy to get coronavirus under control. Our service complements the national system because we have the local knowledge of the county, and we’re able to go to people’s homes to make sure they are aware of what they need to do. We can also refer anybody who needs to self-isolate to local support services if necessary.
“As always, all positive cases are being followed up by the NHS Test and Trace service. For it to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus, people need to provide details of their close contacts. Any close contacts who hear from the service must follow the advice and self-isolate to contain the virus and protect others.”
How your local contact tracing system works:
If the NHS Track and Trace service is unable to contact you after one day, your details will be passed to the new Hertfordshire County Council contact tracing team.
The local contact tracing team will receive a list of people to contact every day at midday and is granted access to the national system, in which to input the required information.
If the local contact tracing team can’t contact you by phone after another 24 hours, that information will be passed to the district and borough council teams who will visit your address to speak to you.
You will be provided with a local number to call, so the service can obtain details of your ‘contacts’ to update the national test and trace system (from there the national process and service picks back up to contact the people you’ve been in contact with).
We will also check if you need any assistance through ‘Herts Help’ – this could be around support with food shopping, collecting medication or debt advice.
More information about the NHS Test and Trace system is available online here.