North Yorkshire to launch local test and trace system today

North Yorkshire County Council's public health team is today launching its own test and trace system.

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 9:51 am
Updated Thursday, 5th November 2020, 9:56 am
North Yorkshire's public health team is launching its own test and trace system. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The authority is following several others in moving away from the national system to create its own contact tracing process in a bid to curb the spread of infection locally.

Dr Victoria Turner, public health consultant at North Yorkshire County Council, said the council had reached an agreement with Public Health England and that the new system will aim to track down people the national system has been unable to get hold of.

Speaking at briefing of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum yesterday, Dr Turner said: “This follows the national trend where most councils now are moving to a local component of contact tracing.

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“Public Health England will start to hand over cases for us to follow-up from tomorrow."

The announcement follows criticism that NHS Test and Trace is routinely failing to reach those who have come in contact with an infected person.

Data released last week showed that two in five close contacts are still not being reached by the national system.

It is thought that this could be because some people are reluctant to answer calls from an unknown number.

Calls under the North Yorkshire system will be made from a local number and carried out by staff at the council's headquarters in Northallerton.

Dr Turner said she believes the local approach could have more success.

York has also launched its own local test and trace system which the city council said successfully reached more than 83% of contacts in its first week.

That is compared to a 60% success rate of the national system.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter