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New Covid-19 tracing service for Cambs to help fight increase in infections




The new service will target people who have not responded to the national service
The new service will target people who have not responded to the national service

Cambridgeshire will roll out an enhanced coronavirus contact tracing service on Thursday (November 19) to reach people not being covered by the national service.

Cambridgeshire County Council said the local service had proven successful in Peterborough and will be expanded to cover the whole of the county as part of the efforts to drive down community infections.

The county, along with the five district and city councils in Cambridgeshire, will be working with NHS Test and Trace to contact people who have tested positive for Covid-19, giving them help, advice and support to self-isolate.

From Thursday, officers from each of the councils who have undergone special training in contact tracing, will be following up on people who have tested positive for Covid-19 but have not responded to a call or email from the national service, and will ask them for details of their close contacts.

Council officers will initially make contact by phone, text or email but if this fails, the officers, who will all carry local authority identification - will make house visits to reach those people who have tested positive.

They will be given advice and support on how they can stay isolated to break the chain of infection, and prevent it spreading to their household contacts, the council said.

They will also be asked to share details of others they have been in contact with.

Anyone who is concerned by being contacted can call the council or local community hub to check the identity of the tracer on 0345 045 5219.

Liz Robin(43157741)
Liz Robin(43157741)

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “The local contact tracing service in Peterborough has been up and running since August and has proven very successful in tracing people who the national service could not. We now want to expand the local service to cover the whole county, so that we can increase the effectiveness of Test and Trace across Cambridgeshire.

“We know that the quicker we can reach people who’ve tested positive and get them to isolate - and to share details of who they’ve been in contact with - the quicker we can break the chain of infection. National Test and Trace isn’t always able to do this fast enough - and some people don’t respond to the national text and telephone system - so we’ve asked Public Health England to let us take this on locally, as we know our communities best.”

Each of the district and city councils is also running a Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme which entitles people who meet certain criteria to a one-off payment of £500.

Those who don’t meet the criteria but are still adversely affected as a result of not being able to work, can also apply for a £500 discretionary payment.

Details are available on each of the district and city council websites.

Cllr Peter Hudson, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s health committee, said: “One of the most important things we can all do to limit the spread of the virus is to self-isolate if we test positive or have been asked to as a result of being a close contact of someone who has.

“But we know that will not be easy for some people, either because they have no-one to ask for help with tasks such as grocery shopping, or because they will not be able to manage financially as a result of not being able to work.

“My message to those people is please get in touch – there is no reason for anyone not to self-isolate.

“The most important thing is that we keep caring for Cambridgeshire, we will work with local people to deliver this locally enhanced test and trace service to make sure that we can stamp out infections and get our county Covid-free.”

No one contacted by NHS Test and Trace will ever be asked for money or bank details. Tests for Covid-19, whether at a mobile testing unit, official drive-through centres or elsewhere, or ordered online or by phone are always free.



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