Coronavirus: Contact tracers reaching fewer Covid contacts in Redbridge as cases surge and infection rate at 116
PUBLISHED: 17:40 09 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:41 09 October 2020
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Fewer close contacts of people with coronavirus in Redbridge are being reached through the test and trace regime amid a surge in cases.
The borough’s infection rate is currently 116 per 100,000 people.
While Redbridge recently had the highest infection rate among London boroughs, it has been surpassed by Richmond-upon-Thames which reported an infection rate of 122 as of cases through October 6.
Data from the Department for Health and Social care shows 931 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Redbridge were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and September 30.
Test and Trace asks these patients to give details for anyone they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.
In Redbridge, 2,129 close contacts were identified but just 57.5 percent were reached by contact tracers over the four month period, meaning 905 people were not contacted or did not respond.
Public Health England released a statement on the latest coronavirus figures across the capital urging Londoners to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England, said: “Coronavirus cases in London are continuing to rise and we are seeing undeniable evidence of that trend. Unless this changes and we slow the spread we will have a much more serious situation on our hands in the coming weeks.
“I would urge all Londoners to be aware of the data and recognise the very real threat our city is facing. Our actions today matter and by working together we can have an impact.
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“We can limit the severity of a second wave and help protect ourselves and our city by being vigilant in our approach to social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing our hands regularly. Government restrictions including the rule of six and reducing hospitality hours will also help prevent transmission by providing fewer opportunities for the virus to spread. Now is the time for us to pull together, collectively put our guard up and do our bit for London.”
Across England, 51,500 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the seven days to September 30, making it the highest total since the regime launched in May.
However, only 67pc (34,500) were transferred into the contact tracing system.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the large increase in positive tests, alongside worsening test and trace performance nationally, is “worrying.”
“Trust chief executives across the North West, North East and Yorkshire are telling us that Covid-related hospital admissions are rapidly rising,” he added.
“We need prompt action to prevent a full-blown second Covid surge.
“We need every member of the public to play their part – hands, face and space – as they did in the first phase of Covid, however frustrating and burdensome they find any restrictions or public health advice.”
There are now 87 local authority contact tracing teams live across the country, with more due in the coming weeks, according to the DHSC.
Baroness Dido Harding, who is interim executive chairwoman of the National Institute for Health Protection, said demand for tests is rising with the growing number of cases.
She said: “We are working hard to increase testing capacity to meet that demand and improve turnaround times for tests.
“We have now opened 500 test sites across the UK, an extraordinary achievement.”
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