The Government announced today that Hackney will be among four London boroughs supporting them in a localised track and trace system to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
This will see Hackney, Camden, Barnet and Newham Councils deploying their local knowledge and expertise to support the central government track and trace programme.
Councils will be the interface between local, regional and national governments. Building on skills and connections already established by Local Authorities’ public health work.
This work will demonstrate how local government is best placed to support a programme of this magnitude. Councils can offer expertise on the local health picture, capacity, mobilised teams of council health officers, community links, communication with local people and partners, and data on area demographics, offering insights into trends and effects on the current outbreak.
The announcement comes after Hackney Council called for local authorities to be more involved with the track and trace system, recognising their knowledge of local communities.
Key immediate areas for the London boroughs to focus on will include arrangements and operating protocols for:
responding to and managing outbreaks in care homes, schools and other residential and communal settings, working very closely with colleagues in Public Health England;
ensuring there is an ongoing offer of support to those residents who will need to isolate if they are a case or a contact of a case, if they need practical help with things like food, and medicines
access to the necessary data in a timely way to understand the distribution of coronavirus in our borough, so we can respond quickly and appropriately;
strong focus on engaging and communicating with our communities, businesses and organisations across the borough so they know how to access testing, contact tracing and follow public health advice during this next pandemic phase – being very mindful of our diverse communities and disproportionate impacts.
The national coronavirus test and tracing service is intended to be delivered through a three tier model. It will combine digital and phone-based contact tracing to identify cases and their close contacts so they can rapidly self-isolate (. More complex outbreaks and situations will be handled in London by the London Coronavirus Response Cell, which will co-ordinate complex outbreak and contact tracing with regional Health Protection Teams, Local Authority Directors of Public Health, and Environmental Health services.