Local authorities across England have been allocated a share of £300 million to support the new Test and Trace service to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Each local authority has now been awarded funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans, working with the service, their local NHS and other stakeholders. Work on local outbreak control plans has begun, focusing on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in communal areas such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools. Local authorities will also need to ensure testing capacity is deployed effectively to high-risk locations.
‘Local authorities play a vital role in the effort to contain COVID-19 in their communities. The funding awarded today will help each local area work hand in hand with Public Health England and contact tracers to focus on the containment of local outbreaks, to control the transmission of this virus,’ said Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, Nadine Dorries.
‘The public response to the rollout of NHS Test and Trace has been fantastic, and we continue to rely on everyone to play their part and follow the latest guidelines. If you have symptoms of the virus, please book a test immediately and if you are contacted by the tracing service, it is vital that you follow their advice.’
Funding has been allocated to councils based on need, with additional funding provided for communities with lower incomes and higher demand for local healthcare settings. Work is being led by local authority leaders and local directors of public health in charge of planning, and will build on existing efforts to respond to coronavirus locally. They are working in close partnership with local hospitals, GP practices, businesses, religious groups, schools and charities.
‘Communities and local authorities must be at the heart of NHS Test and Trace. Their work to respond to the virus has already been exemplary, and demonstrates exactly how we have all come together to respond to the virus,’ said National Test and Trace Adviser and Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan.
‘The funding allocated today will support the joint endeavour between NHS Test and Trace, local government, and local partners to stop the spread of the virus. It will help to reduce the risk of widespread outbreaks in our schools, businesses, hospitals and communities.’