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Local case tracing in Richmond has now reached 680 residents who had tested positive for Covid-19, helping to break chains of transmission in the borough.

In November 2020 Richmond commenced a local tracing partnership with NHS Test and Trace to combine specialist local expertise with the data and resources of NHS Test and Trace to successfully contact more people, more quickly to stop the spread of the virus in the community.

Since the Richmond case tracing initiative commenced, 871 cases have been referred to the local test and trace team from the NHS service. The local team have successfully contacted over 60% of these cases to offer them and their families, support, advice, guidance and gather information. The success of the local case tracing team is through the use of council-held data, text messaging, emails, phone calls, home visits and where necessary the use of translation services. Of the cases refereed to our local team, around 20% require a home visit.

By working with NHS Test and Trace, the Richmond Case Tracing Team are able to harness their local knowledge to quickly determine where people may have caught the virus to help identify possible local outbreaks. They also have access to local authority-held contact information in relation to the local case and are able to signpost to local support services to assist residents with their specific care or financial needs whilst they self-isolate.

An evaluation carried out by the Department of Health and Social Care since the launch of their local tracing partnership with NHS Test and Trace has shown the joint work of the national and local services has resulted in Richmond being London’s best performing borough for national and local case tracing.

Cllr Piers Allen, Chair of the Adult Social Services, Health and Housing Services Committee from Richmond Council, said:

“Stopping these potential outbreaks is clear evidence that by combining our local knowledge with the data and resources of NHS Test and Trace, we can ensure we contact as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. It is a combination of national scale, data and expertise with our unique local “boots on the ground” insight in order to tackle the pandemic.

“Over time, local case tracing will provide extra insight into specific ways transmission is happening throughout the country. This information will help inform local measures to contain and prevent the spread. The unique local knowledge of local teams, coupled with vast experience of contact tracing within our local public health team, is vital in working with NHS Test and Trace.”

As part of the local tracing partnership, a dedicated team of case tracers from NHS Test and Trace are assigned to local areas to help reach as many people as possible who have received a positive test result. If the dedicated team is unable to make contact with a local resident within 24 hours, Richmond’s officers follow up and if necessary visit people’s homes.

Local case tracers are also able to provide support to people who have tested positive and their households.

– from a Richmond Council press release - 2 March 2021