Covid contact tracing to switch to council from NHS Test and Trace

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

All Covid contact tracing in Norfolk will be overseen by the county council, after a successful bid to take on work which has been done by the NHS Test and Trace workers up to now.

Norfolk County Council has been picked to be a pilot in the Local-0 scheme.

That will mean, as soon as someone tests positive for coronavirus, local, rather than national workers, will have the job of tracing their contacts and telling them they need to self-isolate.

Up to now, the council had only been passed cases from the national NHS Test and Trace taskforce after that team had been unable to make contact over a period of 24 hours.

But, the success of the local Norfolk teams in tracing contacts - including knocking on doors to get people to self-isolate - which meant it had an 89c success rate by November.

And the government has said County Hall can now oversee the entire contact tracing system in the county.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, said: “It is vital that we all continue to do our part in stopping the spread of coronavirus and bring the rate of transmission down in Norfolk.

"I’m delighted we have this opportunity to further reduce the spread of the virus in Norfolk. In addition to our strong contact tracing approach we also have good support in place locally to help people to self-isolate.”

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Andrew Proctor, Norfolk County Council leader, said “Our inclusion in the Local-0 pilot scheme will further enhance our ability to trace potential contacts of positive cases successfully, but also more quickly than previously.

"Contract Tracing is a key element in being able to slow and stop the spread of coronavirus, allowing us to limit community spread that may otherwise go unnoticed, and this pilot scheme will help us to do this even more quickly and effectively.”

To handle the anticipated increase in cases the team will handle, 12 extra contact tracers have been recruited to the Norfolk County Council local team, in addition to the local teams in each of the district, borough and city councils.