Council wins extra cash for local covid contact tracing

Council staff managed to find more than 860 people in Brighton and Hove in just two months after NHS Test and Trace had been unable to reach them.

Now the government has awarded Brighton and Hove City Council to extra funding to extend local coronavirus-related contact tracing.

Yesterday (Thursday 22 July) councillors approved spending £300,000 out of the £2 million Brighton and Hove received from the government’s 2021-22 Contain Outbreak Management Fund on the service.

It will be operated by the council’s Community Hub where two contact tracers assess requests for support.

The hub, which was set up in April last year, has eight staff, including contact tracers. The team supports people who are shielding or need extra help because of the pandemic or who are self-isolating.

The boost for the council’s approach follows a pilot scheme when 861 people who could not be traced by the national team were picked up locally in December and January.

A report for the council’s Policy and Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee said: “Contact tracing is central to outbreak control.

“When a person tests positive for covid-19, they are contacted to gather details of places they have visited and people they have been in contact with.

“The infectious window is from two days before to ten days after the case showed symptoms or tested positive.

“Close contacts, identified by a risk assessment, are provided with advice on self-isolation for ten days. This is critical to breaking chains of transmission.”

The £300,000 funding should cover the cost of five full-time contact tracers, a manager, team leader, weekend and bank holiday pay plus a contingency until the end of March next year.

The council also has 17 volunteers available who have contact tracing experience if the caseload grows.

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