A new local contact tracing system for Leeds is set to boost the city’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

On Monday (November 30) the Leeds COVID-19 Connect and Support Service is being launched by Leeds City Council in partnership with Public Health England, enhancing ongoing work to protect residents and communities from the virus.

Working in tandem with the current national tracing team, the local service will get in touch with residents who may need to self-isolate and who can’t be contacted by the national service after a day.

Using local knowledge and the latest information, the service will begin in areas of Leeds where case numbers mean greater support and outreach is needed, before quickly being scaled up to include the rest of the city.

The establishment of the local team will be the latest step in ongoing efforts to help Leeds through the pandemic, which has seen the council, partners, communities, schools and local businesses rally to support one another.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“Contact tracing plays an absolutely critical part in controlling the spread of the virus and minimising the potential for transmission between people who may not know they need to isolate to protect themselves and others.

“Having a Leeds-based system in place will mean that, working with our third sector partners, we can bring our local knowledge and experience into play whilst also offering the added reassurance that we’ll be here to help and support residents who might be worried about self-isolating, particularly the vulnerable and those on low incomes.

“We’ve already seen some incredible work take place across our communities to help contain the spread of the virus and protect each other, which has had a huge impact and it’s encouraging to see that work taking making further strides at local level.”

With a team of staff working from home, the local team’s key roles will be to both try to trace contacts and to give people advice and guidance to help them isolate for the required length of time, including support to shop for food, get medication and financial support and advice.

Local tracers will also have access to a language line to enable them to communicate with those who do not speak English as their first language.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

“The establishment of a local contact tracing service will give Leeds an invaluable new tool in our city’s fight to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect our communities.

“We understand that the implications of having to self-isolate can be daunting, but having people on the ground in Leeds will give us more opportunities to ensure people who are contacted can access all the relevant support services and grants which are available to minimise the impact on their lives.”

Everyone in Leeds can help to control the spread of COVID-19 by observing the latest restrictions and following the key guidelines:

  • Make space and stay 2m away from people you do not live with.
  • Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
  • Cover your face in enclosed spaces.
  • Isolate when you need to/are advised to, and get a test if you have symptoms.
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