A new local contact tracing system has been launched by Wirral Council to help identify and support people who have recently tested positive for COVID-19.
The borough’s contact tracing system will complement the national Test and Trace process and is a partnership between the council’s public health team and The Contact Company.
Cllr Janette Williamson, Leader of Wirral Council said: “We are determined to do all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Wirral. We know that an effective test and trace system really makes a difference in limiting the spread of the disease.
“By Wirral Council partnering with The Contact Company, a local business who employs thousands of people in Wirral, we can maximise our resources and target support where it is needed most. The Contact Company is undertaking this work free of charge for us because, like me, they want to see our numbers fall and the pressure on our NHS ease.”
Asif Hamid MBE, Chief Executive Officer of The Contact Company commented: “As one of the largest employers in the area, The Contact Company has a real sense of duty to protect not only our colleagues in the current climate, but the wider community too.
“In providing the complimentary services of our highly skilled colleagues to assist Wirral Council’s contact tracing, we continue to do all we can to protect the fantastic local community in which we all live and work.
“As a business, we have been proactive in implementing our own internal contact tracing to underpin and support Test & Trace, alongside rigorous and intensive 24/7 cleaning; allowing us to act extremely quickly to protect our colleagues and prevent the spread of infection.
“We have worked closely with Wirral Council’s Environmental Health and Public Health teams since the outset of the pandemic to allow us to take this effective approach, and in doing so we also identified the ways in which The Contact Company could assist Wirral Council, and in turn the wider community.
“We are absolutely committed to supporting our local authorities in their important work to prevent the spread of infection as we navigate this challenging time for us all, and we will continue to do so in the future.”
The local contact tracing system does not replace the national system but will compliment it by providing local insight and knowledge when trying to reach those people the national system cannot get in touch with.
Wirral Director of Public Health Julie Webster added: “Our local contact tracing system provides another layer of support to help control Covid-19 in Wirral. If you are contacted, it will be a locally based person on the other end of the phone. They will talk to you about what you need to do to protect your friends and family whilst isolating, and about what support is available nearby.
“The overall aim is simple – to limit the transmission of Covid-19. By isolating when you have symptoms, getting a test, and picking up the phone when we call, we will give ourselves an even better chance to Keep Wirral Well.”
The service will run seven days a week with calls coming from the council using a local (0151) phone number.
People who either do not know they are positive for COVID-19, or who do know but may wish to conceal this for financial reasons present a risk of uncontrolled transmission in the general community and in occupational and other vulnerable settings. Reaching these people offers a means to prevent new clusters/outbreaks or to control existing ones.
With more people being contacted, the risk of spreading the virus is reduced and more intelligence gathered on where the person may have been in the days prior to a positive test.
Anyone contacted will be advised to self-isolate, talked through how to access local support when isolating, and asked about details of their close contacts so these can then be followed up by the national team.
Wirral residents who have been advised by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate will be entitled to a £500 support payment if they meet the eligibility criteria.
More information is available at: https://www.wirral.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/coronavirus-updates/test-and-trace-support-payment.