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Coronavirus: Contact tracers reaching fewer than three in five contacts in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 12:09 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:09 25 September 2020

Data shows 411 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Redbridge were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and September 9.  Picture: Andrew Milligan/ PA Wire/PA Images

Data shows 411 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Redbridge were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and September 9. Picture: Andrew Milligan/ PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Fewer than three in five close contacts of people with coronavirus in Redbridge are being reached through the test and trace regime, figures suggest.

Fewer than three in five close contacts of people with coronavirus in Redbridge are being reached through the NHS test and trace programme. Picture: Yui MokFewer than three in five close contacts of people with coronavirus in Redbridge are being reached through the NHS test and trace programme. Picture: Yui Mok

The government has faced mounting pressure over failings in the NHS Test and Trace system, which has recently seen up to four times the number of people trying to book a test as the number of tests available.

Data from the Department for Health and Social Care shows 411 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Redbridge were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and September 9.

Patients reached by the service are urged to give details for anyone they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.

A further 924 close contacts were identified in this way in Redbridge – also referred to as “non-complex” cases, meaning they could be dealt with through a call centre or online.

But just 57 per cent of those were reached, meaning 400 people did not acknowledge they also needed to self-isolate.

The DHSC says a close contact is not reached when there is no response to text, email or call reminders, or when their communication details were not available.

Across England 64pc of non-complex close contacts were reached and told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the week to September 9.

Saffron Cordery, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “Trust leaders are increasingly concerned with the current testing shortages impacting on NHS service recovery and winter preparations due to staff and their family members being unable to access a test.

“Additionally, with the number of positive Covid-19 cases increasing, but a reduction in the proportion being contact traced, we are looking at renewed pressure on the NHS.”

Under new rules, from September 28 people in England will legally have to self-isolate for 14 days if they test positive for coronavirus, or they are instructed to do by NHS Test and Trace.

Fines for non-compliance will start at £1,000, rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders, while people on benefits will be eligible for a one-off support payment of £500 if they face a loss of earnings as a result of having to quarantine.


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