160 staff redeployed for contact tracing

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Monday, August 3rd, 2020 10:01pm

By Emily Gill - Local Democracy Reporter

Gwent councils and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) have redeployed 160 workers to help with the contact tracing service in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The contact tracing service, which was set up at the beginning of June, aims to identify and contact people who have been in close contact with a known case of coronavirus.

A Caerphilly council report says there are currently 135 full-time equivalent roles that have been redeployed and trained in contact tracing across Gwent.

However, the report says this is not sustainable and is intended to be in place only until the end of August.

Caerphilly currently has 30 staff redeployed to the existing service and the council’s head of legal services says there is currently “no pressure” from their original service for them to return.

However, there are plans for staff to return throughout the course of September, which will bring a need to replace those staff for the track-and-trace service.

In particular, several staff were redeployed from leisure services to the track-and-trace service, but the Welsh Government’s announcement that leisure centres can reopen from August 10 will trigger the need for staff to return to their original service.

The report says: “Whilst staff will return to their substantive roles at the end of the temporary redeployment arrangement, they may be called upon again should another spike in cases occur.”

When fully staffed, the Gwent contact tracing service will have the equivalent of 348 full-time positions, of these 106.5 will be from Caerphilly.

So far, the service has managed to generate 316 contacts.

The report says: “From 1 June to July 15, 109 cases eligible to be contact traced have been referred into the service, 108 have been successfully contacted generating 316 contacts.”

“The system operates on the basis that a local authority team will be responsible for tracing and contacting cases associated with their local authority; however, depending on demand the teams will be flexed to support the wider Gwent response as required.”

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