Pilot scheme to trace positive cases quicker

Dudley Council will join a national pilot project to help track down positive cases of coronavirus quicker and break chains of transmission.

The local authority will be one of 26 working with NHS Test and Trace on the new scheme, known as Local-0. From this week it will mean the council is made aware of new positive cases as soon as they are entered into the national NHS test and trace system.

The council will then be responsible for contacting individuals directly who have tested positive rather than the national service. It will provide instructions on self-isolation to individuals and their households.

The NHS Test and Trace programme will continue to trace the contacts of individuals who have tested positive, and will continue to provide support to local authorities throughout the process, in order to help stop the spread of the virus as effectively as possible. The new pilot scheme will help ensure Dudley Council is able to use local knowledge and expertise to determine where people may have caught the virus, which will help identify possible local outbreaks. Karen Wright, director of public health at Dudley Council, said:

"We welcome being part of this national pilot and look forward to working closely with our colleagues in the NHS Test and Trace service.

"We hope being involved much earlier in the process will help us identify where positive cases are occurring and importantly reduce the risk and severity of any local outbreaks.

"We’ll have a team of officers who will be contacting those who have tested positive. To reassure people who are concerned about scam callers, the Dudley Council Plus number 0300 555 2345 will display for those being called.

"I would urge everyone to follow their advice and self-isolate to help protect others in our communities."

Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said:

"Stopping the spread of Covid-19 demands a collaborative effort and I congratulate Dudley Council for participating in this pilot to further support the collective effort to tackle the spread of the virus. Our partnership with local authorities has now seen us reach more people than ever before and support them to self-isolate, many of whom might otherwise have unknowingly spread the virus to their loved ones.

"Local authorities’ unique knowledge of their communities is invaluable as we work together and, with the support of the national tracing service, their involvement will continue to strengthen our contact tracing work. Alongside the work we are already doing to help keep people safe, for instance offering regular rapid testing within the community, workplaces and care homes, this will help with the return to a normal way of life."

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