Enhanced contact tracing service up and running in Hertfordshire

The task of identifying contacts of those residents who test positive for coronavirus in Hertfordshire is now being carried out, in the first instance, by local teams.

The scheme – named ‘Local-0’ and a partnership between the council and the Department of Health and Social Care – took effect from Tuesday 6 April, with teams from the county council and the 10 district and borough councils now primarily responsible for contacting people who have tested positive.

This means that the call centre team and district and borough councils’ contact tracing staff, rather than NHS Test and Trace, will get in touch directly with anyone who tests positive, to ensure they and any other members of their household that need to, can self-isolate successfully and have the necessary support to do so. In February and March, 92% of positive cases in Hertfordshire were successfully reached and the contact tracing process completed.

The new approach should mean people that have tested positive will be contacted faster than has been possible before the change, as the process can begin as soon as the case is put on to the NHS Test and Trace system. However, the national set-up will continue to provide support in tracing the contacts of residents to test positive.

“The new scheme is an important step, as it will allow teams at the district and borough councils to use their local knowledge of communities and their expertise to determine more quickly where people may have caught the virus, and that knowledge will help to stop the spread and identify any possible local outbreaks. As the councils self-isolation support day last month showed once again,  our residents are incredible – most are self-isolating when they need to, and that’s fantastic. However, they fully understand that some of our residents need support to self-isolate effectively. Anybody that does need support can contact HertsHelp, which can assist in a number of ways.” Jim McManus, Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire

HertsHelp – a network of community organisations – can assist residents with a range of services, such as mental health support, collecting shopping and vital medical supplies, money and debt concerns, and arranging help when needed for pet care. HertsHelp can be reached by phoning 0300 123 4044, by email info@hertshelp.net and at www.hertshelp.net

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