A new Richmond-based case tracing system for people who test positive for Covid-19 is being launched this week by Richmond Council.
On average NHS Test and Trace have only been able to contact 80% of local cases in Richmond upon Thames. To boost the success-rate a new locally delivered service will launch on 4th November.
The service will step in when NHS Test and Trace teams cannot contact new cases within 24 hours. Specially trained local call handlers from Richmond Council will make further attempts to contact cases, including checking local information to clarify and improve data details.
Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“Speed is of the essence when dealing with Covid-19, so increasing the performance of contact tracing should mean that more cases are contacted, know to self-isolate and help us keep our case numbers down.
“Importantly, by us having direct contact with residents affected, we can offer support and extra help if they or their families need; including promoting the new self-isolation funding that is available for lower paid, working residents on benefits.
“So, I would encourage people who receive a call to not only pick up, but listen and act on the advice given. If you are contacted and instructed to self-isolate you must do so. Failure to comply would be a breach of the law and you could be fined.”
At present, the complex process of case and contact tracing is done entirely by Public Health England from their regional team, but more of the effort will move to the local authority.
The local contact tracing service will be operating 6 days a week, with calls to people who have tested positive for Covid-19 coming from a local Richmond (0208) number. If the call-handlers are unable to contact the individual by telephone, they will receive SMS messages or a home visit as a last resort.
For more information, go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/contact_tracing
– from a Richmond Council press release - 2 November 2020