A major new initiative has been launched in Leeds to track down the contacts of people testing positive for COVID-19.

Leeds Contact Tracing Service – consisting of Leeds City Council, Better Together Leeds and the NHS – aims to stem the spread of COVID-19 across the city by working closely with contacts of those infected.

The telephone-based service – led by Leeds City Council – traces contacts and offers guidance and support including help with shopping, collecting prescriptions and financial advice. Representatives from Better Together Leeds – who are experienced in community health development and have a thorough understanding of the communities they work with – will knock on doors in local neighbourhoods to follow up residents the contact service can’t reach.

A key part of their work is also handing out leaflets urgently requesting anyone who has tested positive to ring a dedicated number – 0113 376 0412. Call handlers discuss a series of questions with them – most importantly anyone they’ve been in close contact with immediately before their positive test result. These contacts are then followed up and urged to self-isolate in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health, said: “As soon as someone tests positive for COVID-19, it’s extremely important we identify anyone they’ve recently been in close contact with. The team at Leeds Contact Tracing Service will provide valuable support in helping us to do this.

“If anyone is contacted by the service, I’d urge them to comply with them and answer all their questions and act on their advice. This will help us all work together to reduce infection rates across the city and protect both ourselves and all those we care about.”

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