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COVID-19 TEST AND TRACE SYSTEM - LOCAL AUTHORITIES HANDED MORE CONTROL

August 12, 2020 1:15 PM

COVID-19 TEST AND TRACE SYSTEM - East Suffolk Local Mobile Testing Sites & Dates for August Key LD Covid update

The test and trace system is to "go local" as the Government appears to acknowledge that the national system, described as "world beating", is not fit for purpose. The Suffolk mobile testing sites and dates in August for the East Suffolk area are listed below.

ALDC reports, that the change follows intense criticism over the reach of the national centralised service, which was set up an awarded to private companies, and its failure to tap into local knowledge to tackle outbreaks of the coronavirus in England. Last month, it was revealed the system was failing to reach more than half the contacts named by infected people in areas battling acute outbreaks of the virus.

DHSC has now announced that the NHS Test and Trace programme will now provide local authorities across England with a dedicated team of contact tracers to ensure that as many people as possible are being reached, in what the department described as a "new way of working" and a "more tailored service".

This could mean people who have been in contact with confirmed coronavirus cases may get a knock on their door if tracers are unable to reach them over the phone.

"As the approach becomes more locally targeted the national service will adjust," DHSC said. "NHS Test and Trace will reduce current extra capacity and reduce the number of non-NHS call handlers." "Data on the virus continues to be actively monitored through PHE and the Joint Biosecurity Centre so that staff numbers can be quickly scaled up, or down, depending on requirements for the national service and as part of winter preparations."

An effective system of contact tracing is widely viewed as critical in keeping down the transmission rate of the virus by reaching out to those who have come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive, and urging them to self-isolate for 10 days.

Recent figures showed that thousands of people are still not being reached by the test and trace programme and the head of outsourcing company Serco, which employs over 10,000 of the tracers, admitted up to a fifth of contacts may be untraceable. National call centers were struggling to reach contacts, with only 56 per cent of close contacts handled online or by call centers being reached and told to self-isolate to stop the spread of the virus.

In stark contrast, a local contact tracing system set up in Blackburn with Darwen Council had reached 90 per cent of the people the Government's national system was failing to contact in an area with one of the worst Covid-19 infection rates.

Howard Sykes (Howard Sykes)Councillor Howard Sykes, LGA Liberal Democrat Leader is reported by ALDC as saying,

"We said right at the beginning that this should have been locally led and delivered and the Government ignored us. As a result, we saw yet another muti-million pound contract to the private sector, and surprise, surprise they couldn't deliver what was needed. Local government's record in delivering public health services at the grass roots has delivered substantial benefits for local communities. Yet again we are having to clean up the mess the Government has created. The money now needs to follow so we aren't lumbered with yet another unfunded Government burden on already over-stretched council budgets"

Munira WilsonTwickenham MP Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrats' Health and Social Care Spokesperson, said: "good ministers have finally listened" to those calling for the NHS Test and Trace service to work more closely with local authorities. She added: "these changes have not only been too slow, but they must also be properly resourced. The fact that it appears that there will be 6,000 fewer tracers is incredibly alarming."

"Given the multitude of mistakes made by central government throughout the pandemic, this move should not be an excuse for ministers to try and pass the blame should there be further issues with the tracing scheme. An inquiry must be launched now so that all levels of government can learn from the mistakes that have been made, and ensure they work together as effectively as possible to prevent further spread of the virus."

COVID-19 testing in Suffolk

The following extracts are taken from the Suffolk County Council Covid-19 Information page of the Council's website

Do I need to get tested?

Yes, if you develop any of these symptoms:

  • high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

  • new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Visit the government's Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested website for full details and to apply for a test.

Alternatively, you can call 119 to book a test.

Where can I get tested in Suffolk?

If you have not requested a home test kit, you may be able to choose between driving to a regional testing site or a mobile testing unit. These sites can only be accessed by car, you may not walk in.

If you need to get tested, but do not have a booking, our local drive-through testing sites will still aim to offer you a test if capacity is available on the day.

Suffolk Regional Testing Site - Park n Ride - Copdock Ipswich

The regional testing site for Suffolk and surrounding areas can be found at the London Road Park and Ride, Copdock, Ipswich. It is open from 8am to 7pm, every day.

Mobile testing units in East Suffolk Area

The operation of mobile testing units (MTUs) in Suffolk is being handed over from the military to G4S, who already run SCC regional testing site at Copdock. MTUs are available at a number of locations across the county and are particularly useful for those who cannot easily access the regional testing site at Copdock. 99.9% of households in Suffolk can access a testing site within a 30 minute drive.Scheduled visits for mobile testing units in Suffolk are below - listed in alphabetical order. Dates are for 2020 and subject to change, please check back regularly.

Town

Location

Date

Beccles

Beccles Hospital, NR34 9NQ

Saturday 15 August

Beccles Hospital, NR34 9NQ

Saturday 22 August

Framlingham

Framlingham College Leisure Centre, College Road, IP13 9EY

Thursday 13 August

Framlingham College Leisure Centre, College Road, IP13 9EY

Sunday 16 August

Framlingham College Leisure Centre, College Road, IP13 9EY

Thursday 20 August

Framlingham College Leisure Centre, College Road, IP13 9EY

Sunday 23 August

Halesworth

North Suffolk Skills Centre, IP19 8PY

Saturday 15 August

North Suffolk Skills Centre, IP19 8PY

Tuesday 18 August

North Suffolk Skills Centre, IP19 8PY

Saturday 22 August

Leiston

Leiston Leisure Centre, IP16 4LS

Thursday 13 August

Leiston Leisure Centre, IP16 4LS

Monday 17 August

Leiston Leisure Centre, IP16 4LS

Thursday 20 August

Lowestoft

Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ

Wednesday 12 August

Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ

Friday 14 August

Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ

Monday 17 August

Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ

Wednesday 19 August

Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ

Friday 21 August

Sources: Suffolk County Council Covid Information page

LGA - Local Government Association-

LGA: COVID TEST AND TRACE SYSTEM "GOES LOCAL" AS LOCAL AUTHORITIES HANDED MORE CONTROL Gareth Lloyd-Johnson - August 11, 2020

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