A support service is being substantially expanded in West Norfolk this week to help more residents affected by Covid-19 to isolate.
Previously only those who had tested positive for the virus would be contacted by teams from local councils with offers of support.
Now the service will expand welfare checks and support to include some of those people who have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they are contacts of positive Covid cases.
Led by Norfolk’s Public Health and Community Resilience partnership, the service aims to further bolster efforts to control the virus by making sure people have support in place so they can stay at home and isolate safely.
Plans are currently being made by other local councils to expand support in a similar way in the coming weeks.
Dr Louise Smith, director of Norfolk’s Public Health, said: “We have for some time now been supporting those people who have tested positive for Covid-19 to isolate but we are now taking this one step further by offering co-ordinated and joined-up support to contacts of positive cases as well.
“This is yet another tool in our armoury to fight this disease. Controlling the spread by minimising every opportunity the virus has to transmit is key.
“We’ll be working closely with our local council colleagues to roll this new service out to every area of the county as soon as possible.”
Stuart Dark, borough council cabinet member for environmental services and public protection, said: “It is vitally important that people self-isolate and stay at home when told to do so by NHS Test and Trace as this helps stop the virus spreading to other people.
“We understand that people may find this difficult for lots of reasons and that’s why we’re making these calls.
“We will check you are able to get hold of food and medicine, and help set up support for you if you can’t, we can also point you in the direction of other support including financial assistance if needed.”
The service runs seven-days-a-week. Anyone identified as a contact will either receive a phone call or be visited by the new service with a wellbeing check.
Teams will also be checking that those identified as being a contact of a positive Covid case know how to access testing if they develop symptoms and understand the current lockdown rules.
Chief Executive of the borough council, Lorraine Gore, added: “We are redeploying some of our staff onto this service, as we believe it is a crucial tool to help stop the spread of the virus.
“We have received very positive feedback from those we have contacted so far and want to thank everyone who is doing the right thing and self-isolating in accordance with the guidance when they have been advised to do so.”
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