I wanted to ensure you receive early notification of the roll-out of this important local initiative in your district. The staggered launch of the Local Tracing Service for Hampshire started in December (established under the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Tracing Partnership) and the aim is to have all districts on board by the end of January. This approach is ensuring careful, safe and effective implementation of the new service.
The Local Tracing Service is scheduled to launch in East Hants within the next seven days. Exact timings are dependent on provision of national data from NHS Test and Trace to Hampshire County Council. We will inform the Chief Executive when the district has gone live.
Local authorities have been working with NHS Test and Trace to organise Local Tracing Partnerships, which combine national scale and data with local knowledge. In practice this means:
• where the NHS Test & Trace service is unable to reach people who have tested positive (cases) within their usual timeframes, local call handlers will take over;
• the local call handlers will then attempt to make contact with cases to gather details of their close contacts. This will be through a variety of methods including text messaging, and a call from a local phone number – 01962 826982;
• when contact is made, the case will be asked about their movements in the days prior to the start of symptoms, or a positive test, as well as relevant information about close contacts. This information will be shared with the national Test and Trace team who will follow-up the contacts;
• the local call handlers will also be able to offer advice on local support that is available to self-isolate if required, as well as picking up on any welfare and wellbeing concerns.
In the districts where the Service is already active, our call handlers are reporting high success rates in contacting residents and have received positive feedback for their assistance, professionalism and efficiency.
The County Council will continue working with Public Health England to ensure our key partners and stakeholders are appropriately informed as the Service expands. We will also work to drive engagement– in conjunction with district council communications teams – through reminders to residents about following self-isolation rules and booking a test if they are symptomatic. We are also urging residents to provide full and accurate details of contacts in order to support successful tracing, while alerting them to the local phone number and the importance of accepting the call.
Providing residents with access to prompt and convenient testing, and ensuring their close contacts are traced and supported to isolate, is key to preventing further spread of the virus by breaking the chain of infection. The Local Tracing Service is therefore playing a crucial role in protecting our communities.
I hope you find this information helpful.
Simon Bryant FFPH
Director of Public Health
Hampshire County Council