Hackney and City step up to boost local test and trace efforts
Hackney Council and the City of London Corporation will from next week take on a greater role in testing and tracing locally to help stop the spread of COVID-19, save lives and protect the NHS.
NHS Test and Trace is a free nationwide programme vital to limiting the spread of the virus. It works by contacting people who have been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive for the virus, asking them to self-isolate for 14 days from the day they were last with the infected person.
However, gaps remain in the system, and in Hackney only about 70 percent of those who need to be contacted are being reached. This localised complementary approach by Hackney Council and the City Corporation aims to resolve this, helping support the NHS by getting in touch with the other 30 percent. This means Hackney Council staff will be supporting the national contact tracing service and will be contacting local people with a positive coronavirus test to talk to them about contact tracing and self isolation.
Drawing from local data and insights to connect with local residents, public health officials will offer support, advice and guidance to residents who need to self-isolate. All test and trace data is managed in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will not be used for any other purpose.
The announcement follows calls from the City Corporation and Hackney Council for more local authority involvement in the NHS Test and Trace programme.
Contact tracing is vitally important in preventing coronavirus outbreaks and local lockdowns, but the lack of local authority involvement by the Government has led to significant gaps in the scheme. I am glad the Government is finally letting us use our own expertise.
It’s essential that we all take part in contact tracing to limit the spread of the virus throughout our communities and to save lives, by getting a test if you have any symptoms, playing your part in the NHS Test and Trace system if you test positive for coronavirus, and self-isolating if you are contacted by a contact tracer yourself. We must do this in order to prevent another lockdown and to keep Hackney and the City safe.
The national NHS test and trace system has been vital in our efforts against COVID-19. It helps us better understand transmission patterns locally and identify those who need to self-isolate to prevent further infection.
That’s why we’re delighted to announce this new local offer, which will work in tandem with the national system to give City and Hackney residents a comprehensive test and trace system that they can rely on and trust.
Please continue to play your part by getting tested if you have any symptoms, cooperating with test and trace staff, and self-isolating if requested by a tracer.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 - no matter how mild - it is important that you get a test and self isolate for 10 days. Symptoms include a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. You can book a test online or by calling 119. The current nearest testing centre to the City is based in Bentley Road, Hackney. Please only get a test if you are symptomatic.
What to do if you’re contacted by NHS Test and Trace
If you are contacted by test and trace, you must stay at home for 14 days from the day you last saw the affected person. Do not leave your home for any reason - if you need food or medicine, you can order it online or by the phone, or ask friends or family to drop it off at your home. If this is not possible, please contact Hackney Council or City of London Corporation who will be able to help you.
If you are a Hackney resident:
Let Hackney Council know that you need assistance by calling 020 8356 3111, going to the Council coronavirus webpage or looking for help locally on the support services map.
If you are a City of London resident:
Let the City of London Corporation know that you need assistance, by filling in the COVID-19 form, by emailing the COVID-19 mailbox, or by calling 020 7606 3030.
How do I know a test and trace caller is genuine?
You'll be contacted by email, text or phone. Text messages will come from NHStracing. Calls will come from 0300 0135000 or Hackney Council’s number starting in 020 8356.
You’ll be asked to provide:
- your name, date of birth and postcode
- if you live with other people
- any places you've been recently, such as a workplace or school
- names and contact details of any people you were in close contact with in the 48 hours before your symptoms started (if you know these details)
Test and trace workers will never ask for bank details or payments or for details of any other accounts, such as social media. They will not ask you to set up a password or PIN number via telephone or ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087.
How your information will be used by NHS Test and Trace
All information you provide to the NHS Test and Trace service is confidential.
No one who is contacted will be told your identity.
Anyone you've been in close contact with will be told to stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.