South Tyneside Test and Trace figures fall again

Fewer people who had close contacts with coronavirus victims in South Tyneside are being reached through the struggling test and trace regime, new figures show.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 1:35 pm
Updated Friday, 16th October 2020, 1:50 pm
Test and Trace figures have fallen again in South Tyneside

Data from the Department for Health and Social care shows 1,551 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the borough were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and October 7 – generating

3,671 close contacts.

But just 64.8% were reached by tracers, meaning 1,291 people were not contacted and told to self isolate

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​That was down from the 67.4% reached in the four months to September 30, but above the average of 63.3% across the North East.

The figures show 541 new cases were transferred to test and trace in the week to October 7.

Shadow health minister Justin Madders said the heavily-criticised NHS Test and Trace system is "falling apart" and echoed calls for a circuit breaker lockdown amid another surge in positive cases.

He said: "It is absolutely staggering that week upon week the performance of test and trace keeps getting worse and worse.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the test and trace system, telling MPs that it has allowed for a "detailed picture" of where and how the virus is spreading.

He said: “This week’s statistics show the testing capacity is up, testing turnaround times are down, and the distance travelled for tests is down too.”

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents trust leaders, said: "It’s deeply unfortunate that at this point with infections rising, admissions increasing and winter looming, there’s still clearly a long way to go until our test and trace system is fit for purpose."