Test and trace misses 30% of close contacts

Nearly three in 10 close contacts of people with coronavirus are still not being reached by the test and trace system in South Tyneside, new figures suggest.
Test and Trace workersTest and Trace workers
Test and Trace workers

Data from the Department for Health and Social care shows 7,161 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in South Tyneside were transferred to the national Test and Trace service between May 28 and December 30 – 545 new cases in the last week of that time.

This led to 14,137 close contacts being identified – with 70.5% being reached – meaning that 4,169 people were either not contacted or did not respond.

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That figure was an improvement on the 69.1% reached in the period to December 23.

Nationally, 92.3% of contacts were reached and told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the week to December 30.

Local health protection teams reached 99.8 per cent of contacts of cases managed by them in the week to 30 December.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “With daily infection rates and deaths from coronavirus at their highest ever level, we urgently need to be picking up as many contacts of people who test positive, as quickly as possible.

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“Councils know their communities best, with nearly nine in 10 setting up contact tracing teams to work with the national system and successfully find many hard-to-reach cases.

“But they need greater support – communication, capacity and workforce – and better and faster information on who they should be trying to contact.”