Andrew Lee, a Reader in Global Public Health at the University of Sheffield, has hailed the University’s new internal contact system a success just two weeks after its launch. 

Designed to work alongside NHS Test and Trace, the new institution-wide team have been in place since 24 October, charged with contact tracing student and staff Covid-19 cases.  

In a tweet, Lee said over 90% of positive cases had been contacted within 24 hours of notification, with their contacts traced and informed by the next day. On some days, the figure was 100%. 

Many thanks to students and staff for their cooperation & civic-mindedness to keep our community safe”, he added. 

Combined new staff and student cases reported to the University in the week up to 6 November averaged at just 8.3 in a population of nearly 37,000. In early October, when cases on campus peaked, infection statistics were roughly nine times higher than this. 

By contrast, the Government’s test and trace system failed to successfully trace more than 40% of infected people’s at-risk contacts in the week between 22 and 28 October, its worst performance since being set up in May. 

It’s a failing that’s been borne out by some frustrated Sheffield residents. 

Olivia Blake, the Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam, has called on the Government to make urgent fixes after one of her constituents was left waiting fourteen days for a test result. 

In a letter to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, she said: “Constituents, like others up and down the country, have had a very difficult time through this crisis and many have made great sacrifices. In return for these sacrifices, they were promised a ’world beating’ effective test, track and trace system.

“Once again, the government has not delivered on its rhetoric and it is my constituents who are paying the price for this failure.” 

Image: Rebekah Lowri


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