Covid contact tracing is a success

Essex County Council. Photo: ANDRA MACIUCA.

Essex County Council. Photo: ANDRA MACIUCA. - Credit: ANDRA MACIUCA

Essex County Council’s Covid-19 contact tracing service, which operates with the help of partners in city, borough and district councils in Essex, has marked 86 percent of cases closed and 93 percent of contacts traced.

The local contact tracing service was launched in June to support the national NHS tracing service. It originally just supported outbreaks in settings such as schools care homes and businesses.

The national NHS tracing service contacts people who need to self-isolate after coming into contact with people who have tested positive for Covid-19.

From October this year, when the national service had been unable to contact a person, the contact was referred to the county level service. They used use local knowledge and phone calls to contact 86 percent of cases which were referred to them.

City, borough and district Councils in Essex have been supporting with the next step in contacting the last 14 percent of cases where contacts had limited details such as no phone number or the wrong details, cross referencing with council tax information or other local sources.

Finally, as a last resort, a door to door visit was arranged to any non-responsive cases to ensure they were isolating, had the necessary support and to close the case with Essex and Southend Contact Tracing Service.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council's director of Wellbeing and Public Health, said: “This is a great example of partnership working between the county council and the city, borough and district teams.

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“Contact tracing is such an important part of our strategy to stop Covid-19 transmission and this work will have made a huge difference to transmission rates.

“I will again, underline the need to maintain social distancing to a width of two metres, to keep up a good hygiene regime of hand washing and the ongoing need to test, and self-isolate in the event of a positive test.”