Test and Trace improves contact rate
Improvement has been observed in the ability of NHS Test and Trace to reach and contact the close contacts of people who have received a positive coronavirus test result. These better results are tied to a change of approach in how the contact tracing team deal with close contacts of positive cases who are under 18 years old. From now on, any close contacts under 18 years of age will not be directly contacted, a parent or guardian will be instead. The parent or guardian will be obliged to confirm whether or not they have instructed the child to self-isolate. If the answer is yes, then the child is marked as ‘contacted’ on the Test and Trace records. If no parental confirmation is provided, the usual contact-tracing routes are followed.
This change means it is no longer possible to compare historically the proportion of contacts that have been reached each week under Test and Trace. In the week ending 18th November, 60.5% of close contacts were successfully contacted by the team. Using the new method, this number has risen to 72.5% being reached in the week up to the 25th November. "This operational improvement has resulted in an increase in the proportion of contacts reached, and the proportion reached within 24 hours,” the DHSC said on Thursday.
Government also announced the milestone of NHS Test and Trace reaching one million cases since its initial launch in May. Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said the new figures “are a testament to the efforts made by everyone working across Test and Trace.” She said that feedback from those contacted by the programme and those using any other services had been listened to and that the service will continue to evolve and grow to suit peoples’ needs in future.