Blackburn with Darwen Council in partnership with Public Health England has launched a locally supported contact tracing system for the borough.

The Council has developed a locally supported contact tracing system which will see Council staff support efforts to find people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.The council will use their local knowledge if the national process has been unable to contact someone.

If the national system cannot make contact with a local resident after two days, their details will be passed onto the local service to help find additional contacts.

If the team can’t get through to the resident by email, text or phone after another 48 hours, our local Contact Tracing team will visit you and give you details of who you can call.

Residents will be given advice and guidance to help them isolate for the required length of time. The officer will also ask if the resident needs any support or help delivered through BwD Help Hub.

Paul Fleming, Director of Business Change and the senior officer leading the development of the new system, said:

Test and trace is a vital part of the national strategy to get the virus under control. It is even more vital in areas like ours where we have a rising tide of cases. Our system complements the national system because we have the local knowledge of the area and the ability to send officers round to people’s addresses. Our system is also beneficial because we can refer those who need to isolate to local support services if necessary.

Our system has already gone live and we are already seeing its benefits as we have managed to contact people the national system couldn’t.

I want to ask all residents to continue to work with us, continue to follow our advice and guidance and continue to take responsibility.

Together we will beat the virus.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of the Council, said:

Once again we see how local government, with its knowledge and connection to the local area, can rise to the challenge and deliver for our residents.

I am proud that we have designed and delivered an effective and efficient local system to complement the national programme very quickly. Once again the Council has shown local leadership in our battle against this terrible virus.

Greater Manchester is also understood to be considering its own system amid mounting criticism of the government scheme, which is claimed to be missing up to half of all potential Covid-19 contacts.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary,said:

“For months Labour has warned ministers that, without a vaccine, an effective locally delivered test, trace and isolate regime would be critical to safe easing from lockdown.

“Instead Boris Johnson is handing multi million pound contacts to firms like Serco and claiming his approach is ‘world beating’ when it is far from that and showing no signs of improvement. He should be honest with the public about his government’s failings.

“Given infection rates are rising and some areas have had restrictions tightened, it is no wonder local authorities are abandoning Johnson’s failed approach and setting up their own systems. Local Directors of Public Health, primary care and NHS labs were always better placed to do this vital work effectively and should be given the resources and data to get on with it.”


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