The Lambeth service will call residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 and notify them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus. Local contact tracers will also collect the contact details of close contacts from the residents they call and refer them back to the National Test and Trace System who will then get in touch with these contacts.
Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth Council leader, said: “This is a crucially important service that bolsters our national attempts to stop the spread of the virus, and fills in the gaps that have been evident in the national programme.
“The service will also be able to offer targeted support for residents using local data and knowledge to help them self-isolate. It is ideally placed to support vulnerable residents by linking them in with other local services to get any further help they may need.
“Contact tracers will also give advice and support those within the same household to ensure they are not spreading the virus.
“Having a local service also means local knowledge and intelligence can be gathered and used to act quickly if an outbreak in one of our local community or business settings. This all helps to better limit the spread of the virus.
“We will continue lobbying government to ensure they fully honour pledges to fund the cost of this local contact tracing work, and the wide range of other extra essential services, provided by local authorities during this pandemic.”
A pilot of the Lambeth Contact Tracing Service has been running successfully since October 22. During the trial the Lambeth contact tracing project team worked closely with Public Health England to make sure the service could meet standards needed to be in place so it could go fully live.
The pilot was evaluated with residents reporting that they were happy to take the calls and grateful for the additional support. As a result, Public Health England gave Lambeth the go ahead for the local service to go live on November 5.
Ruth Hutt, Lambeth’s Director of Public Health, said: “The Lambeth service will operate seven-days a week and will be staffed by trained contact tracers and team leaders. Initially the service is being staffed by a pool of council staff volunteers, but will also shortly be recruiting a core team to work alongside the volunteer pool so that the service can flex as demand changes.”
Covid-19 testing in the borough is now bolstered by two walk-through Local Testing Sites in Vauxhall and Streatham, and a drive-through Mobile Testing Unit in Brixton. If you, or someone you know, experiences symptoms, Covid-19 tests and advice are available via the nhs.uk/coronavirus website or by calling 119.
Lambeth residents with symptoms can also book home testing kits through the website, and can access other testing sites outside of Lambeth if more convenient.