WARRINGTON Borough Council is set to start rolling out a dedicated, local COVID-19 contact tracing service, from tomorrow (Thursday) including house visits where necessary, to help with contact tracing and to ensure support is available for people who are self-isolating.
The national test and trace programme aims to contact people who have tested positive for coronavirus or those who are defined as having been a ‘close contact’ to someone who has tested positive. Recent figures show that the national programme has managed to reach 8 out of 10 Warrington residents who have tested positive for coronavirus. Those cases that the national test and trace service has been unable to reach, however, are passed on to councils for them to follow up locally to gather test and trace information and to offer support.
Although in Warrington council officers have been working to contact trace people locally since September, a new and dedicated team of call handlers is now operating, seven days a week, within the council’s contact centre to rapidly trace even more residents. Residents with mobile numbers will receive a text to notify them that a contact tracer will be getting in touch.
For those who the council are still unable to contact locally through the call handlers, officers will be following up with house-to-house outdoor visits. The purpose of these visits will be to ensure that those self-isolating have the support they need to remain at home, given that it is against the law not to stay at home if you have been instructed to self-isolate.
Door knocking will commence from tomorrow, Thursday 14 January, and officers undertaking house-to-house visits will clearly display valid council identification. Officers have also received infection control training to ensure that any outdoor house visits are conducted safely.
Remember, if the council contacts you either by phone or house visit, they will never:
· ask you to dial a premium rate number (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
· ask you to make any form of payment, or purchase a product of any kind
· ask for any details about your bank account
· ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
· ask you for any passwords or PIN numbers, or ask you to set up any passwords or PIN numbers
· disclose any of your personal or medical information
· provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
· ask you to download any software or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet
· ask you to access any website that does not belong to the council, the government or NHS
· try to enter your property, if conducting outdoor house-to-house visits
Cabinet member for Public Health, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, (pictured) said: “If you have been instructed to self-isolate, this means you cannot leave home at all – even going out for exercise or shopping for essentials is not allowed. However, through our local contact tracing work, we will ensure that those who have been instructed to self-isolate have the support and guidance they need to remain at home.
“As part of this commitment, we are working with Warrington Voluntary Action and other local organisations to provide practical advice and support, or help with food, medication and other essentials, for those who are self-isolating and cannot therefore leave home.
“Self-isolating if you have symptoms, have tested positive for coronavirus or have been alerted to do so by test and trace is an absolutely vital part of reducing the virus’ transmission – put simply, it will save lives.”
· The latest information about Warrington’s coronavirus restrictions and guidance can be found at: warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus
· If you need support when self-isolating, visit warrington.gov.uk/safeandwell or call the dedicated test and trace number on 01925 443221, between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, or between 10am and 1pm, Saturday and Sunday.
· For more information about support available through local volunteers as part of the ‘Good Neighbour’ project, visit Warrington Voluntary Action’s website at warringtonva.org.uk
· You can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01925 246881, or 07869 311 360.
· You can also check eligibility for self-isolation payments through the national scheme through the gov.uk website, which could enable you to receive a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.