By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter
A local Covid-19 contact tracing service launched in Lambeth yesterday to pick up cases the national NHS Test and Trace cannot find.
Local contact tracing takes over if the national Test and Trace team is unable to make contact with a resident who has tested positive for Covid-19 within 24 hours.
In collaboration with Public Health England, Lambeth council is rolling out the service following “a successful trial period”.
Lambeth’s service will call residents and tell them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.
Local contact tracers will also collect the contact details of people close to the residents they call and refer them back to the National Test and Trace System, who will in turn get in touch with them.
A pilot of the service has been running since October 22 – the council said it was evaluated “with residents reporting that they were happy to take the calls and grateful for the additional support”.
Lambeth leader Councillor Jack Hopkins said: “This is a crucially important service that bolsters our national attempts to stop the spread of the virus, and fills in the gaps that have been evident in the national programme.
“The service will also be able to offer targeted support for residents using local data and knowledge to help them self-isolate.
“It is ideally placed to support vulnerable residents by linking them in with other local services to get any further help they may need.
“Contact tracers will also give advice and support those within the same household to ensure they are not spreading the virus.
“Having a local service also means local knowledge and intelligence can be gathered and used to act quickly if an outbreak happens in one of our local community or business settings. This all helps to better limit the spread of the virus.”
The service will operate seven-days-a-week and is staffed by “trained contact tracers and team leaders”.
Ruth Hutt, Lambeth’s director of public health, said: “Initially the service is being staffed by a pool of council staff volunteers, but will also shortly be recruiting a core team to work alongside the volunteer pool so that the service can flex as demand changes.”
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