Great Britain

Bradford has the lowest COVID-19 contact tracing rates in the country, figures suggest

BRADFORD has the worst COVID-19 contact tracing rates in the country, falling far behind both the national average and the government's target, Department of Health figures have suggested.

Just 42 per cent of contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus were reached through NHS Test and Trace in the week ending 2 September, the figures say.

The national average stands at 69 per cent, with both Bradford and the country as a whole falling short of the government's target of 80 per cent.

Bradford sits at the bottom of the track and trace table, falling behind Peterborough, where 46 per cent of contacts were reached, Blackburn with Darwen (48 per cent), Kirklees (49 per cent) and Nottingham (49 per cent).

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe seemed to suggest that money was a factor in Bradford's low position.

Councillor Hinchcliffe told the BBC earlier: "They [the government] seem to be able to find money to pay for a national test and trace but when it comes to local authorities money is still not there.

"We shouldn't be having to pay for that as a local authority which is already stretched in terms of finances."

Last month, it was reported that a local test and trace system was being rolled out in Bradford.

Bradford Council announced plans for the system, which would benefit from local knowledge, as it would allow local authorities to use their own specific understanding and resources to increase the proportion of people reached by the Test and Trace programme.

It was reported that teams of volunteers and council staff would be out on the streets of Bradford to share health messages, support on staying safe as well as stating how people can reduce the spread of the virus by adhering to government guidelines.

Last month, Sarah Muckle, Director of Public Health at Bradford Council, said: “The virus is still out there and we have seen an increase in infection rates over the last few weeks in Bradford and so its imperative that we focus all our efforts in this next step to target those high risk areas in order to rid us of COVID-19.

“All of our volunteers are fully trained and have a wealth of local knowledge which allows them to support the groups through face to face contact.

“As well as having these home testing kits we still have a good presence of testing units across Bradford district for everyone to use.”

Bradford Council added today that a "low number" of people are being reached by the national test and trace system, hence why a localised one was suggested.

A spokesperson for Bradford council said: “One of the main motivations for us wanting to set up our local test and trace system is precisely because of the low number of people being reached by the national system.

"Our local scheme is working as an add-on to the national test and trace programme, not a replacement for it.

"The national programme is starting to pass on cases to us which we are then connecting with locally, this work will grow week by week as we get the permissions to get more data from the national system. It is too early to see the impacts yet of the local programme.”

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