City and Hackney step up to boost local test and trace efforts

Hackney Council and the City of London Corporation will from next week (22 September) take on a greater role in testing and tracing locally to help stop the spread of COVID-19, save lives and protect the NHS. 

NHS Test and Trace is a free nationwide programme vital to limiting the spread of the virus. It works by contacting people who have been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive for the virus, asking them to self-isolate for 14 days from the day they were last with the infected person. 

However, gaps remain in the system, and in Hackney only about 70 percent of those who need to be contacted are being reached. This localised complementary approach by Hackney Council and the City Corporation aims to resolve this, helping support the NHS by getting in touch with the other 30 percent.

Drawing from local data and insights to connect with local residents, public health officials will offer support, advice and guidance to residents who need to self-isolate. All test and trace data is managed in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will not be used for any other purpose. 

The announcement follows calls from the City Corporation and Hackney Council for more local authority involvement in the NHS Test and Trace programme. 

Marianne Fredericks, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“The national NHS test and trace system has been vital in our efforts against COVID-19. It helps us better understand transmission patterns locally and identify those who need to self-isolate to prevent further infection.

“That’s why we’re delighted to announce this new local offer, which will work in tandem with the national system to give City and Hackney residents a comprehensive test and trace system that they can rely on and trust.

“Please continue to play your part by getting tested if you have any symptoms, cooperating with test and trace staff, and self-isolating if requested by a tracer.”

Cllr Chris Kennedy, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Adult Social Care and Leisure, said:

“Contact tracing is vitally important in preventing coronavirus outbreaks and local lockdowns, but the lack of local authority involvement by the Government has led to significant gaps in the scheme. I am glad the Government is finally letting us use our own expertise.

“It’s essential that we all take part in contact tracing to limit the spread of the virus throughout our communities and to save lives, by getting a test if you have any symptoms, playing your part in the NHS Test and Trace system if you test positive for coronavirus, and self-isolating if you are contacted by a contact tracer yourself. We must do this in order to prevent another lockdown and to keep Hackney and the City safe.”

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 - no matter how mild - it is important that you get a test and self-isolate for 10 days. Symptoms include a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. You can book a test online or by calling 119. The current nearest testing centre to the City is based in Bentley Road, Hackney. Please only get a test if you are symptomatic.

What to do if you’re contacted by NHS Test and TraceIf you are contacted by test and trace, you must stay at home for 14 days from the day you last saw the affected person. Do not leave your home for any reason - if you need food or medicine, you can order it online or by the phone, or ask friends or family to drop it off at your home. If this is not possible, please contact the City of London Corporation who will be able to help you. You can do this by filling out the COVID-19 form, or by calling 020 7606 3030.ENDS

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.