Derby City Council is to start tracking down people infected with coronavirus in a bid to stop them spreading the virus in the city.
Council workers will be ensuring that infected people are self-isolating correctly and checking their recent contacts.
From today, Monday, November 23, the Government will give the council the contact details of the people who have tested positive for the virus in the city and its suburbs.
Officers will check that they are self-isolating correctly and will track down and warn those who have been in close contact with them, a job that was being performed by national test and trace teams.
They will also try to contact people who have had a positive Covid-19 test but who the Government teams have been unable to reach.
The council says that it will offer support to those in financial difficulties due to self-isolation and will help ensure they can get food and medicine.
Dr Robyn Dewis, director of public health at the city council, said: “The national test and trace system is extremely important in the national strategy to regain control over Covid-19 transmission.
“Using local knowledge, we are hoping to support this as best we can to ensure that those who should self-isolate are provided with guidance and do not potentially infect others.
“We will also be able to offer coordinated support for those who may struggle during the self-isolation period financially, or because they need someone to collect food or medicine.
“As ever, we should all try our best to do the right thing for Derby by ensuring that we follow advice given on self-isolation and if we are symptomatic, stay in our homes and apply for a test.”
The city council’s local tracing team will contact cases from the phone number 01332 956 800.
If you receive a call from this number, you are advised to respond and answer any questions as fully as possible.
Until today, Derby City Council has not been carrying out test and trace locally.
Derbyshire County Council has been checking on infected people and their contacts for months.
From today, the county council will also start tracking down those with coronavirus that the Government teams have been unable to reach.
These measures are being taken to ensure more infected people and their close contacts are traced and told to self-isolate.
Both councils will be helping those self-isolating with access to welfare and mental health support, financial assistance, food packages and loneliness calls.
This month, Derby had one of the highest rates of coronavirus infections out of all the cities in the UK with 455 cases per 100,000 people.
Last week, Derbyshire County Council’s director of public health, Dean Wallace, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the national NHS Test and Trace service is failing to spot a number of outbreaks.
He said that his team was catching one near-miss Covid-19 outbreak each week.
Since September, the county council has been processing the details of residents who have tested positive and trying to work backwards to see if they trace back to shared workplaces, schools or, in one instance, a flight.
This is what Mr Wallace described as backwards contact tracing and often involves wading back through cases where there was insufficient data from the national team, such as their occupation.
In the past month, his team of between 10 to 12 full-time staff – around half of whom are fully dedicated to contact tracing – successfully got in touch with 73.4 per cent (1,054) of 1,436 contacts. They were unable to reach 382 people.
In comparison, the £12 billion national team has a success rate of 64 per cent in Derbyshire in the week from May 28 to November 4, according to the most recent figures.
This means 16,723 contacts were reached and 9,380 missed.
For Derby, the national team had a success rate of 62 per cent, reaching 5,585 contacts but missing 3,375 over the same period. It is hoped that local contact tracing will improve these figures.
In total, for Derby and Derbyshire, from May 28 until November 4 this is 12,755 missed contacts who have contracted Covid-19 and may have unknowingly spread the virus to their loved ones and around the community.