'Enhanced' contact tracing underway across South Tyneside as health chiefs work to track down potential Covid cases
South Tyneside Council has said the enhanced programme is under way across the borough, with its staff working to contact people by phone if they have recently tested positive for the virus.
It comes after a rise in cases across the North East, with the borough put on Public Health England’s ‘Area of Enhanced Support’ watchlist.
A council spokesperson said: “This is different to the NHS Test and Trace service.
"You should continue to follow all of the guidance you have been given from NHS Test and Trace.
“The purpose of enhanced contact tracing is to try to identify any connections between cases and venues or areas within the borough.
"The information you give us is confidential and will help us to keep residents of South Tyneside safe and potentially keep us out of a local lockdown.
"If someone from our contact tracing team leaves you a voice message, please call us back as soon as you can, we won’t take up much of your time and your help will be much appreciated."
Instead of asking questions about the people they have been in contact with, the team ask questions including:
• Places visited
• When they visited and how long the person was there for
• If they came into close contact with anyone
• How they got there and how they got home
• If the person stayed overnight.
The NHS Test and Trace scheme contacts people via email, phone or by text, when they will be sent via NHStracing and the number 0300 0135000.
Children under 18 will be contacted by phone wherever possible and asked for their parent or guardian's permission to continue the call.
People will be asked to visit https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk and asked to include a name, date of birth and postcode; if they live with others; any places they been such as work or school; names and contact details of any people they were in close contact within the 48-hours before symptoms started.
It will not ask for bank details or payments, details of any other accounts, such as social media, ask them to set up a password or PIN over the phone or call a premium rate number.