Council area badly hit by Covid-19 sets up own contact tracing system

The local authority with the highest Covid-19 infection rate in England has set up its own contact tracing system.

Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 3:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 3:55 pm

Staff from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council will use their local knowledge to help find people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Details will be passed on to the local service if the national NHS Test and Trace system cannot make contact with a local resident after two days.

A home visit from the local public protection team will take place if another 48 hour passes and the resident has not responded by email, text or phone.

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A mobile testing centre at Witton Park High School in Blackburn and Darwen, as the town is facing a "rising tide" of coronavirus cases

Senior council officer Paul Fleming, who is developing the scheme in partnership with Public Health England, said: “Test and trace is a vital part of the national strategy to get the virus under control. It is even more vital in areas like ours where we have a rising tide of cases.

“Our system complements the national system because we have the local knowledge of the area and the ability to send officers round to people’s addresses. Our system is also beneficial because we can refer those who need to isolate to local support services if necessary.

“Our system has already gone live and we are already seeing its benefits as we have managed to contact people the national system couldn’t.

“I want to ask all residents to continue to work with us, continue to follow our advice and guidance and continue to take responsibility.”

Council leader Mohammed Khan said: “Once again we see how local government, with its knowledge and connection to the local area, can rise to the challenge and deliver for our residents.

“I am proud that we have designed and delivered an effective and efficient local system to complement the national programme very quickly.”

Figures released on Monday showed the rate of new cases in Blackburn with Darwen, fell slightly from 81.9 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 24 to 77.9 in the seven days to July 31. A total of 116 new cases were recorded.