Wakefield's Contact Tracing Service has identified more than 5,000 cases as residents are encouraged to get tested

Wakefield Council’s Contact Tracing Service is marking 12-months of operation in reaching local residents who have been in contact with Covid-19.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 9:38 am

It was set up in November 2020 as a local service – taking over where the national service had been unable to immediately reach people.

Since the local service launched, it has identified 5,370 cases.

Now residents across the district are being encouraged to continue supporting the service with its vital work.

Wakefield Council’s Contact Tracing Service is marking 12-months of operation in reaching local residents who have been in contact with Covid-19.

Whilst life might seem to be slowly getting back to normal since lockdown was lifted earlier this year, the reality is that cases of COVID-19 remain high across the Wakefield district and more restrictions could be introduced if the Government decides to implement its ‘Plan B’ to drive down infection rates over the winter.

That’s why health chiefs are reminding people of the importance of getting tested and self-isolating if asked to do so by the district’s Contact Tracing Service.

Coun Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty and Health, said: “The pandemic is far from over. COVID-19 cases remain high across the district and it is crucial we all play our part in combatting this destructive disease.

“Now is not the time to be complacent but to continue to be vigilant to the fact that COVID-19 is very much with us. As part of this, contact tracing is still very much a key service and it is vital we all work with the team to help to stop the spread of the virus.”

She added: “Contact Tracing is a vital local service to support our fight against COVID-19. It is so much more than telling someone they have the virus, it gives support, advice and help to those of us in our community who are affected.

“They provide a service we may not think about but for those who do need it, it is a lifeline that really makes a difference to people’s lives.”

The Contact Tracing Service remains very active despite the vast majority of the population being vaccinated due to the fact that the virus is still prevalent in society, even though the country has moved away from lockdown.

For people who are identified as a contact, it is key to engage with the service to combat the spread of COVID-19. Rates of infection still remain high and even if people are vaccinated, they can catch and spread the virus.

The Contact Tracing Service has been much more than merely telling someone they need to isolate. It can also prove to be a lifeline in some circumstances.

Recently, the service contacted a young woman. It turned out she had COVID-19 and was isolating away from her family in an upstairs bedroom. Worryingly, she had a young child who had complex medical needs and as a result the carers had been asked to leave for their safety.

The team arranged an immediate delivery of shopping, a prescription and worked with the family to make it safe for the carers to return.

In addition, they organised medical care for the young woman. This successful contact also identified a teacher who needed to isolate.

The service benefits from its local knowledge and ability to identify outbreaks. Team members know locations of schools and workplaces and the local support systems which make contract tracing easier. It allows for informal conversation which is not rushed.

This helped with another example of their work. Due to being able to call at convenient times, there was another contact of a school child which led to a successful trace of a number of people. Speaking with the mother, it was identified where the child had been while positive, looking at places visited and so on. A timeline was then created for each individual.

More calls are offered and at more convenient times which has proven beneficial for those working all day. Allowances can be made for people feeling unwell and a suitable time to call arranged.