NHS Test and Trace and Knowsley Council have launched a new pilot scheme to help reach individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus sooner.
Known as ‘Local-0’, this new joint initiative will help support local authorities to contact positive cases faster by bringing them in right from the start of the tracing journey, at the same time the case is entered into the national NHS Test and Trace system.
Through this new approach, which launched on Tuesday 6 April, Knowsley Council will contact the individual directly rather than the national service and will be responsible for instructing the individual to self-isolate. Local contact tracers are also able to provide legal instructions and support to people who have tested positive and for members of their households who have to self-isolate.
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 that the team at Knowsley Council are able to use local knowledge and expertise to determine where people may have caught the virus, which will help identify possible local outbreaks.
Baroness Dido Harding, Executive Chair of NHS Test & Trace, said:
“Stopping the spread of Covid-19 demands a collaborative effort and I congratulate Knowsley 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.”
So far 313 local authorities have now joined forces with NHS Test and Trace to provide an enhanced contact tracing service, enabling NHS Test and Trace to go further in supporting people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and tracing their recent contacts. The overarching aim nationally is to reach over 90% of all cases.