Kingston Council’s local test and trace team has been tasked with contacting 90 people who could not be tracked by the national tracing system since it launched nearly two weeks ago.
The figures were revealed at this week’s Health and Wellbeing Board (November 17).
The borough’s Director for Public Health, Iona Lidington, told councillors that the team were passed on contacts of 27 people by the national service as soon as they started up on November 5.
“I’m pleased to say we were able to follow all of those up, either by telephone, or door knocking. Some of them were in hospital for example which is one of the reasons why they hadn’t been able to answer the phone themselves directly with the national team.”
Since then, more people have come through the local system.
Ms Lidington said the local team often find that the national system is missing a digit from a telephone number or is not quite accurate.
The local team can use its own database to complete some of that data and track people down.
She said: “We’re finding phone calls certainly the most practical way of getting in touch with people, and again, I think because we’re using the council’s contact centre number it’s more of a recognised number so we’re able to speak to people and offer them the advice and guidance and getting them to engage with test and trace.”
She said there has been an increase in completion of finding contacts from 80 to 84 per cent.
“Clearly we want to get to as close to 100 per cent as possible. Clearly it’s not necessarily going to be everybody, we’ve found some people in hospital for example, but it certainly is improving that completion rate from having that local offer.
“So it’s encouraging to see that happening. It’s the flexibility to maybe even have the cases handed over even more quickly than the current 24 hours that it stays with the national team.”
Ms Lidington also highlighted that some people being traced by the local team require a lot of support with self-isolation, and need help with shopping and medicine collection.
“We know it takes quite a bit of time. The quickest phone call has been about 15 minutes and the most extensive one about an hour and fifteen minutes. So it really is an enhanced offer,” she said.
She said she will bring further reports to the committee when the team has been running for longer, and has more data.
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