Warrington Borough Council’s local contact tracing team has joined a national pilot programme to contact all positive coronavirus cases in Warrington.

The pilot scheme is a partnership between the Department of Health and Social Care and councils to enable local contact tracing teams to manage the tracing journey.

Known as ‘Local-0’, this new joint initiative sees all positive COVID-19 cases picked up for contact tracing in the first instance by the council’s local team rather than by the national NHS Test and Trace service.

The council will contact individuals directly to explain the legal duty to self-isolate and to offer support to people who have tested positive, and for members of their households who have to self-isolate.

The local team will use their knowledge of Warrington communities to determine where people may have caught the virus, which should help to identify local issues earlier, break chains of transmission, and prevent any possible outbreaks.

The pilot scheme, which launched on Tuesday 6 April, has enabled more people to be contacted to be offered guidance and support, many of whom might otherwise have spread the virus to other members of their household or not fully understood the legal duty around self-isolation.

Thara Raj, Warrington's Director of Public Health, said: “The move to the local tracing of all cases enables a more real-time, immediate response to gathering intelligence and providing advice on any practical, financial, or emotional help and support people may need while self-isolating. 

“Results from the last two weeks of the ‘Local-0’ programme have been very positive, with our current success rate standing at 94%, indicating that the move to the local approach is seeing early benefits. 

“These results are a testament to the work of our contact tracing team who constantly provide a professional yet personable approach to engaging with residents. Providing a more localised contact tracing service to all cases in Warrington will improve the quality of information shared, while giving residents the opportunity to discuss their welfare and support needs and access a range of support services.

“Alongside the use of rapid symptom-free testing, local contact tracing of our known positive cases is our best defence against the virus and will help with the return to a more normal way of life.”

Find out more about coronavirus in Warrington at warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus.