Contact tracers have now successfully reached more than one million people who have tested positive for coronavirus.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the proportion of contacts reached by the service increases substantially from 60.5% to 72.5%, while turnaround times also continue to improve. For this reporting period, 84.9% of in-person test results were received the next day after the test was taken, compared with 79.0% reported in the previous week, while 88.5% of pillar 1 test results were made available within 24 hours, compared with 88.1% the previous week.
‘The figures this week are a testament to the efforts made by everyone working across Test and Trace. We have been working around the clock to ensure any new developments to the service have a positive impact and this is what our numbers show this week, particularly regarding turnaround times and completion rates,’ said Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding.
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‘We have listened to feedback on the contact-tracing process, particularly regarding our digital self-service channels to encourage those using NHS Test and Trace to engage with us and provide information. We will not stop there, though, and work will continue to ensure NHS Test and Trace evolves and grows. Charnwood Lighthouse Lab has begun to process tests this week which will further boost our testing capacity, which has continued to increase at pace since we began.’
Measures such as improvements to the digital self-service, which make it faster and easier to provide tracing information, as well as changes to the process for contacting under-18s in a household, have shown to contribute to the improvement.
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‘It is fantastic to see so many local tracing partnerships now underway, giving us better insights on where transmission of infection is occurring. We’re incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the national and local teams across the country who are working non-stop to help us combat the spread of the virus,’ said Professor Isabel Oliver, National Infection Service Director at Public Health England.
‘These vital partnerships will help us contact as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Beating COVID-19 involves everyone working together and we hope that even more local authorities will join this vital work.’