A local coronavirus contact tracing service in St Helens borough is now supporting contact tracing from NHS Test and Trace and following up with people who the national team are unable to reach. Over 85% of all diagnosed coronavirus cases are now being followed up and completed by the local team which currently has the highest completion rate for contact tracing in the Liverpool City Region.
St Helens Borough Council is working in partnership with Public Health England and the national NHS Test and Trace programme to speak to residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 to offer them support and to identify who they have been in contact with. Anyone who has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is then contacted and asked to self-isolate to ensure that they have the practical support they need to isolate at home and to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the area.
If the national NHS Test and Trace system is unable to get in touch with a person within 24 hours, then the local contact tracing team is there to help. St Helens Borough Council has redeployed, retrained, and hired new staff to make sure this happens as quickly as possible.
Councillor Anthony Burns, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for public health, leisure, libraries and heritage, said: “Our tracing team has the invaluable local knowledge to help identify links between cases so that outbreaks of coronavirus can be contained as soon as possible.
“The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and the start of symptom-free testing to people who live and work in St Helens Borough is fantastic news, but it does not mean that we can relax just yet. We all need to stay vigilant and follow the public health advice in our area.
“Regular symptom-free community testing helps us to identify those people who are infectious and may be unknowingly spreading the disease, allowing them to self-isolate and protect others.
“It’s really important that you do self-isolate if you’re told to, even if you don’t have any symptoms. You could still have coronavirus and spread it. People who are self-isolating should stay at home, except to get a test.”
Sue Forster, Director of Public Health for St Helens Borough Council, said: “We are working tirelessly to make sure that everyone who needs to self-isolate is reached quickly to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This could be by phone, email, text, or a knock on the door.
“If you are self-isolating because you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please do stay at home.
“The new team has done great work so far supporting the national NHS Test and Trace programme. By continuing to work together we hope to be picking up 100% of cases in St Helens as soon as we can.
“Our team is supporting a range of settings including schools and businesses to understand how outbreaks have happened and help them to prevent any further spread and manage the risks to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
If you have coronavirus symptoms you must self-isolate and book a test online at www.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 119.
The main symptoms are:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change in sense of smell or taste.
If you have coronavirus symptoms, do not attend a symptom-free testing centre.
Support and Information:
- For information about when and how symptom-free testing is available and a list of frequently asked questions, visit: https://www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested
- For guidance about when to self-isolate, visit the NHS website.
- If you are in urgent need or are vulnerable and you are self-isolating, call the St Helens Together helpline for support on 01744 676767 (open 8am-10pm, 7 days a week) or visit gov.uk
- For information about help, mental health advice and financial support available to people who are self-isolating, visit the uk website.