Wrexham Council staff begin tracking and tracing coronavirus cases
Council staff in Wrexham have begun their involvement in tracking and tracing coronavirus cases.
The Welsh Government previously launched its “Test, Trace, Protect” programme (TTP) which involves testing those with COVID-19 symptoms and identifying others they have had close contact with.
Local authority staff are then tasked with getting in touch with them and asking them to self-isolate.
An initial team of 16 non-critical workers has been redeployed and trained to be part of the system by Wrexham Council.
The authority is planning to establish four groups totalling up to 80 staff members in the longer term to meet demand.
It has estimated that they could be taken away from their main roles for up to two years.
Speaking earlier this week, Cllr Hugh Jones, lead member for people, said: “As of today (Tuesday), we have the first team in place and that team is fully trained and ready to go.
“It consists of 16 trained contact people, in addition to support from our seven public protection officers who are professionally trained and are there all the time to deal with any outbreak.
“As of yesterday, bearing in mind that the first time that the public were able to be tested was on Monday, we had eight contacts, four of which did not need any further investigation or follow up because they were part of a lockdown situation either in a community home or the care of Betsi Cadwaladr.
“We also had four contacts this week that did require follow up.”
The government’s lockdown exit strategy highlights that TTP’s success will be key to making the easing of measures possible.
The Welsh Local Government Association previously said “significant additional resources” would need to be given to councils.
Cllr Jones said funding would be needed to recruit more staff in future to allow people to return to their main jobs and find others to undertake the track and trace work.
He said: “The original document that came from the Welsh Government in terms of Test, Trace and Protect and that talks about giving strategic direction and support.
“As part of that support, we understand it to mean finance. I don’t believe the money has touched our bank account yet, but we couldn’t wait for that.
“We had a responsibility, to deliver and we’ve gone ahead and created the teams.”
Executive board members will be asked to approve the actions being taken at a meeting on Tuesday
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme)
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