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Health experts at Essex County Council are underlining the need for social distancing and regular hand washing as new funding to support the track and trace service is announced.
Local authorities are central to supporting the new track and trace service across England, with the government providing a new funding package of £300 million to authorities across the UK.
Essex County Council has been allocated £5,780,000 (£5.78m) from this funding package.
The authority is now using this funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans, working with local trusts and other partners.
This local provision is in addition to the national activity and is specifically to deal with particular local situations.
However, Essex County Council is clear the message remains for county residents to maintain two metres of social distance and to keep washing hands at every opportunity.
Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Wellbeing, Public Health and Communities at Essex County Council, said:
“Social distancing is more relevant to people than ever.
“If you do not come within two metres of anyone you will never be regarded as at risk under track and trace and will not be asked to self-isolate”
“Although track and trace is now being implemented, and new processes to act upon it are being created, it is vital to remember it is a complementary system when it comes to halting the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Track and trace is not a cure and it won’t halt the spread of COVID-19 by itself.
“The key things everybody in Essex needs to do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is maintain two metres of social distance from people outside of your household and family bubble and keep washing your hands.”
Plans drawn up by the authority to respond to track and trace focus on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools.
Essex County Council is now working to ensure testing capacity is deployed effectively to high-risk locations. The council will work closely with the test and trace service, local NHS and other partners to achieve this.
Data on the virus’s spread will be shared with other local authorities through the Joint Biosecurity Centre to inform local outbreak planning, so teams understand how the virus is moving, working with national government where necessary to access the track and trace capabilities of the new service.