Positive individuals are being encouraged to securely list details of their close contacts when asked by Test and Protect.
Information collated from the online contact tracing form means Test and Protect staff can quickly identify people who have been in a higher risk setting, such as in a hospital or on a foreign holiday, and focus on contacting them by phone. They can then be given speedy advice to help break the chain of transmission and slow the spread of the virus. Lower risk cases, and their contacts, are sent public health advice by SMS.
As case numbers increase, changes are also being made to the contact tracing system to ensure it is fully equipped to cope with continuing fluctuations in volume including:
Test and Protect contact tracing staff prioritising phone calls to high risk cases to ensure the system delivers maximum benefit as case numbers increase ongoing recruitment in local contact tracing teams additional surge workforce capacity introduced at the National Contact Centre, with 100 extra staff trained and deployed in July.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“Our Test and Protect workforce continue to play a vital role in the battle against this pandemic and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for all their efforts.
“Case numbers have increased recently and we have taken a number of steps to ensure the Test and Protect system continues to operate well under increasing pressure.
“We have supported recruitment processes in local health boards and bolstered the number of staff in the National Contact Centre. Our Test and Protect teams are also prioritising calls to cases deemed to be high risk and this is where the public can play their part. We are also asking anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to provide details of their contacts as soon as they are asked by Test and Protect, using our online tracing form, so that our teams can work quickly to offer advice to those most at risk.
“The majority of people comply when asked to self-isolate and we are thankful for the important role they continue to play in stopping transmission of COVID-19.
“While we are in the process of emerging from the pandemic, case rates at the moment underline the fact that this virus is still with us.”
Read more about contact tracing at NHS Inform.