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UK missed coronavirus contact tracing opportunity, experts say in The Guardian news article
The Guardian newspaper has produced an interesting article on a missed opportunity for coronavirus contact tracing being carried out by Environmental Health Officers.
As you know, Environmental health workers in local government have wide experience in contact tracing, a process used to prevent infections spreading and routinely carried out in outbreaks such as of norovirus, salmonella or legionnaires’ disease.
However, a spokesperson for Public Health England (PHE), which leads on significant outbreaks, said the organisation did not call upon environmental health workers to carry out contact tracing for coronavirus, instead using its own local health protection teams.
PHE’s contact tracing response team was increased to just under 300 staff and was deemed adequate for the containment phase of handling the COVID-19 virus up to mid-March. In that time the team, working around the clock, traced 3,500 people and supported the 3% of contacts found to be infected to self-isolate. Tracing was scaled back when the UK moved to the delay phase of tackling coronavirus in mid-March. It is now carried out in limited form, mainly for vulnerable communities.