As part of our measures to help South Gloucestershire reduce the spread and impact of Covid-19, our Local Contact Tracing Service is now actively reaching out to those who have tested positive to make sure they keep themselves and the virus isolated.
The local team complements the National Test and Trace Service by picking up calls where the national team have been unable to get hold of cases for a period of 24 hours.
The benefit of local case handling is that we understand the local area and can put the information gathered into the local context of South Gloucestershire. We can understand links to where people have potential exposure to Covid-19 in common and take action. We can also provide residents with local information to support them to self-isolate when required, such as referrals to local services to get their shopping, mental health support and information about the self-isolation grant.
The team can also identify vulnerable people and make sure they are put in contact with our support team who can then discuss the additional support available and ensure they receive it where required.
In just the past few weeks, the service has successfully completed contact tracing with 71 people testing positive for Covid-19 who would not have otherwise been contacted.
Our local work is currently in ‘phase 1’, which means that we are locally following up the confirmed (positive) cases. Their identified contacts are then referred back to the national team for follow up. We will progress to ‘phase 2’ next month, which will involve contacting close contacts as well as identified (positive) cases. We are working closely with Public Health England.
Contact tracing takes place for people who receive a positive Covid-19 test and their identified close contacts. The national system will reach out by text, email or phone, to find out who you may have been in contact with so that they can also take steps to protect themselves and those around them. In line with government guidance those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case will also need to self-isolate.
If they call you by phone, it will be from 0300 013 5000 or 0300 123 7790. If the national team cannot reach you for 24 hours, they will ask our local team to attempt to make contact with you. They will call you from 01454 86 4444.
South Gloucestershire Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, Councillor Ben Stokes, said: “I am so pleased and grateful to see that overwhelmingly those who live and work in South Gloucestershire are doing everything they can to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As a council we are taking a range of actions, including to provide a local approach to contact tracing, which allows us to give the best help and support to people who need to self-isolate.
“Contact tracing is really important for us to ensure we stop the spread of the virus and get those who may have been contacts of positive cases to self-isolate as quickly as possible. The local team will call people who have tested positive for Covid from 01454 86 4444 and will ask about those you have come into contact with and places you have visited to identify whether any follow up is needed.”
Director of Public Health for South Gloucestershire, Sara Blackmore, said: “Our local team of practitioners is working with the national service to ensure that we make contact with as many confirmed cases and their contacts as possible to provide timely self-isolation advice.
“This is such a crucial way for us to be able to take positive action to stop the spread and keep South Gloucestershire safe and we are really grateful that when we speak to people, they are keen to do the right thing to protect their loved ones and their community.”