Essex contact tracers help Norfolk with Banham Poultry outbreak
- Credit: PA
Contact tracers from Essex are starting work to help public health officials find the hundreds of contacts of Banham Poultry workers caught up in the coronavirus outbreak.
It comes as a Norfolk MP called on the government to put the national test and trace system in the hands of local councils, rather than have it centralised in London.
The outbreak at the Attleborough poultry factory has highlighted problems with the national test and trace programme, after it emerged that only half of people who had been in contact with the infected workers had been tracked.More than 100 Banham Poultry staff tested positive and all workers are being tested.
But the test and trace system is run nationally, meaning public health officials in Norfolk are reliant on it passing them information.
In other areas of the country, including Essex, councils have introduced their own system.
A council spokesman said on Thursday that Essex and Southend Contact Tracing Service, which was set up by Essex County Council in July, was now helping to find the remaining 50pc from the Banham Poultry outbreak.
You may also want to watch:
Figures show that local systems have been more effective, with 95pc of cases reached by local-run teams in the week up to August 19, compared with 75pc nationally.
Mid Norfolk Conservative MP George Freeman called on Norfolk County Council to follow suit.
- 1 Police give out £200 penalty notices to day-trippers for second weekend running
- 2 'They think they can get away with it' - crowds flock to seaside village
- 3 MP moves to reassure public as film crew hires out village homes
- 4 100 cannabis plants found at three neighbouring properties in village
- 5 Buy a former 1950s police station for sale for £330,000
- 6 Man in 70s punched and kicked repeatedly after being pulled from car
- 7 Norfolk Covid-19 cases at lowest level since October, figures show
- 8 Man dies after rescue operation to cardiac arrest call
- 9 Family of missing man informed after body found in water
- 10 Power cut caused by electric pole fire hits more than 600 homes
He said the outbreak had “highlighted real issues with the track and trace system being run centrally from London”.
“Tracing factory staff in our food processing sector - often low paid overseas agency staff living in hostels cheek-by-jowel with workers in other plants - needs local knowledge,” he said.
“To prevent infection spreading to other factories and towns we needed to trace, test and track all 800 Banham staff and their close contacts much more quickly.”
He said it would be far more effective to have local council staff and volunteers knocking on doors rather than relying on emails or a phone app.
Dr Louise Smith said on Tuesday the council would be keen to run a local track and trace.
But a council spokesman said this needed to be agreed with other agencies before anything could happen.