Sheffield becomes one of the first cities to run its own track and trace programme

Sheffield’s city council has become one of the first in the country to run its Covid-19 track and trace programme completely in house, and aims to use its local knowledge to manage the system more effectively than central Government did.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 12:14 pm

The council has recruited a team of tracers who work with residents who may have been exposed to the virus and have already seen a rapid rise in track and trace success rate which now stands at 95 per cent of all positive cases contact traced.

The results of those who receive a positive diagnosis go straight to the council and they attempt to contact as many as possible of them within seven hours.

Thanks to a ‘Local O’ scheme, residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 will be contacted on day on by a local contact tracer instead of NHS Test and Trace.

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A council spokesperson said the new approach is ‘drastically reducing’ the amount of time required to track cases and is providing a more efficient response to further outbreaks as they arise.

Alex Westran, Covid response Operational Manager for Sheffield City Council’s Track and Trace hub explained: “We’re able to reach more people because of our access to local information and the fact that we call from an 0114 number and that we are part of Sheffield City Council. It seems that people have more trust in a locally run service and so engage with us where they perhaps haven’t engaged with the national system previously.”

The team works closely in partnership with the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and with colleagues in social care and checks to see if someone has been admitted to hospital.

Mr Westran added: “We are working to organise contact tracing in a hospital environment. Community Support Workers are dispatched to carry out home visits if we are concerned about a person’s welfare. We quickly organise support through our Community Support Helpline for those who find themselves in a vulnerable position if they have Covid-19 and are having to isolate.

“Our main focus is to make sure that those who have received a positive Covid-19 test are safe and well and that they have everything they need to isolate successfully. This helps us contain the spread of the virus by contact tracing and by facilitating successful isolation.”