Test and Trace miss a third of Northumberland virus contacts

Over a third of people who have come into close contact with a coronavirus victim are not being reached by the test and trace system in Northumberland.

By Katie Williams,
Friday, 4th December 2020, 3:13 pm
Test and Trace workers
Test and Trace workers

Data from the Department for Health and Social care shows that 7,226 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the area were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and November 25 – with 8,762 new cases referred in the last seven days of that period.

This led to 15,859 close contacts being identified over the period – those not managed by local health protection teams, which are dealt with through a call centre or online.

But the figures show just 64.6% of those were reached – meaning 5,610 people were not contacted or did not respond.

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That was the highest proportion in the North East, where 60.6% of contacts were reached on average.

As of November 18, people under the age of 18 who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 are no longer all being traced individually.

Instead, a parent or guardian in the household is asked to confirm they have told the child to self-isolate, and if they have done so the child is recorded as having been reached.

This change means it is no longer possible to compare the proportion of contacts that have been reached each week.

Local health protection teams deal with cases linked to settings such as hospitals, schools and prisons.

The contact tracing rate, including these cases, was 72.5%