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‘We can keep track of Covid spikes’

Created on 24/07/2020 @ 07:04
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Staff who are managing the Test, Track and Protect (TTP) system in Powys are confident they can deal with spikes in positive Coronavirus cases, including the one reported this week in Welshpool.

Powys County Council (PCC) and Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) are working together on the project, and have already gained vast experience in helping to deal with Coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants in Anglesey and Wrexham.

Members of the Health and Care scrutiny committee were told at their meeting this week that Powys County Council’s TTP success rate is still 100%.

Trewern Councillor Amanda Jenner had asked if the council had the capacity to deal with the Welshpool spike and be able to “up the amount of testing quite quickly”?

TTP operational manager, Jo Weale, said that increased testing can be done quickly and replied: “We are working with the health board and they react very quickly and are out straight away testing.”

A team of 19, made up of a manager, clinical lead and four contact tracers from PTHB, then 12 contact advisors and administrators from PCC, are doing the work. Other teams remain on standby in case of a rise.

Councillor Roger Williams asked how contact testing worked and added: “You said in the presentation that 50 that had tested positive had been tracked. Does that mean it’s just the 50, or their contacts?”

Ms Weale, replied: “The 50 that we’ve tracked have all been the positive cases. They have all been traced. Some people have just had household contacts. In the past week, others we have traced have had up to seven contacts as they have been going to places.”

Cllr Williams asked how people had reacted to the phone call telling them they needed to isolate for 14 days?

Ms Weale said: “Most had been very good but not everybody has wanted to isolate. It is explained to them, our advisors have a script to follow explaining how important it is to stay at home and stop the spread.

“The experience we had when we were dealing with the Wrexham cases people were going to work, and we were saying to them you mustn’t do this.

“They didn’t understand so we explained to them the sooner you stay at home and stop the spread the sooner we get back to normal.”

On Wednesday, July 22, Public Health Wales, Powys Teaching Health Board and Powys County Council released a joint statement confirming a cluster of cases in the Welshpool area.

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