NHS Test and Trace starts 9am 28th May 2020


The main public health technique for controlling epidemics returns to England tomorrow with the start of the NHS Test and Trace service.
.....

Anyone with corona virus symptoms will be asked to self-idolate and book a test. If the test delivers a negative result, the self-isolation ceases but if it is positive the service will contact them and try to work out all their contacts - people who have been within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes in the last few days.

These contacts will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days or 7 days after they develop symptoms, whichever is shorter. If they have a negative test result they must still carry on with this.

In this way the spread of Covid-19 can be reduced.

Success depends on prompt action at all stages, booking a test, taking it, getting results back, tracing contacts. This is because the virus can develop in a contact within a few days so that they become infectious. COVID-19 is best understood as a pattern of local outbreaks, rather than a national pandemic with a similar impact in every community, which is why councils as local leaders have a fundamental role to play in the test and trace service.

“It is good government has recognised the importance of directors of public health within councils, who need to have the necessary powers and authority to lead the response locally and tackle outbreaks early and aggressively.

“The success of the programme will also depend on the continued support and co-operation of the general public. We believe they would be reassured and encouraged if the roll-out of the service is underpinned by the leadership of their local council.

“Environmental health, emergency planners, trading standards, public health including sexual health services and infection control nurses are just some of the council services which can use their considerable expertise and unparalleled experience, to help in stopping the spread of coronavirus.

“As we move into the next phase, it is important that councils have the capacity and necessary data to play their full part in this national programme, so they can understand where the outbreaks are happening and be able to act quickly to contain them.”

Local government and local public health departments will have a central role. The Local Government Association said:

"COVID-19 is best understood as a pattern of local outbreaks, rather than a national pandemic with a similar impact in every community, which is why councils as local leaders have a fundamental role to play in the test and trace service.

It is good government has recognised the importance of directors of public health within councils, who need to have the necessary powers and authority to lead the response locally and tackle outbreaks early and aggressively.

The success of the programme will also depend on the continued support and co-operation of the general public. We believe they would be reassured and encouraged if the roll-out of the service is underpinned by the leadership of their local council.

Environmental health, emergency planners, trading standards, public health including sexual health services and infection control nurses are just some of the council services which can use their considerable expertise and unparalleled experience, to help in stopping the spread of coronavirus.

As we move into the next phase, it is important that councils have the capacity and necessary data to play their full part in this national programme, so they can understand where the outbreaks are happening and be able to act quickly to contain them.”