England will overtake his sluggish coronavirus contact tracking systemThe government said Monday, shifting control from private contractors to local public health teams and grazing the workplaces of thousands of call center workers who complained that no one could call.
The changes were the clearest confirmation so far by the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the centralized, privatized system of patient tracking has been neglected.
Instead, the government has heeded some of the pleas from underfunded local health directors who have been warning for months that a London-run contact tracing system would not provide the local information needed to quell the virus flare-up.
As part of the restructuring announced on Monday, 6,000 contact tracing jobs will be cut by the end of August, a third of the total workforce of two outsourcing companies. Some of the remaining 12,000 privately employed tracers will be transferred to regional public health teams.
In some areas, “the national test and trace system has not picked up enough cases and local contacts to make a difference,” said Dr. Lincoln Sargeant, director of public health for North Yorkshire, in an interview Monday. “The knowledge and relationships we have in local government are certainly what you need to fill that void.”
Contact tracing has long been thought of as a bridge between the lockdown and a vaccine, allowing the government to identify clusters of infection and stop people from passing the virus on. Without an effective system Scientists recently warnedThe schools could not reopen safely as planned in September.
However, England’s centralized program has stumbled repeatedly since its quick start in late May – one of many missteps that helped Britain do it the worst outbreak in Europe.
Only 51,500 of the 92,000 people identified as close contacts of positive cases were ever reached by call center contact tracers, according to the end of July Government statistics. Many contact tracers had reached no more than a few people in two months of work.
Contact tracers said they filled their days with Netflix and Internet practice classes. The local health directors struggled to access test data from their areas. Outbreaks occurred in cities like LeicesterThis requires an economically damaging shutdown on site.
According to analysts, part of the problem was that Mr Johnson had largely entrusted the English system to Serco, an outsourcing giant that was recently forced to pay a heavy fine to the government for fraud on a previous, unrelated contract. Other nations in the United Kingdom, including Wales and Scotland, which are responsible for their own contact tracing, appointed public health officials to run their programs.
Callers employed by Serco and other outsourcing companies were barely paid above the minimum wage, and some said they started their jobs with little or no training.
Small teams of local public health workers employed by the local authorities have taken up the most intricate cases in facilities such as nursing homes, schools, homeless shelters and prisons. They followed more contacts than the privately employed workers and reached a higher percentage of them: by the end of July they had reached 148,000 out of 151,000 contacts.
By redistributing more contact tracers to these local teams, the government hopes to replicate this success more widely. Instead of stopping once they can’t reach people by phone, tracers are now working with public health officials to take additional action, such as: B. knocking on people’s doors.
The coronavirus outbreak>
frequently asked Questions
Updated August 6, 2020
Why are bars associated with outbreaks?
- Think of a bar. Alcohol flows. It can be loud, but it is definitely intimate and you often have to lean over to hear your friend. And strangers have much, much less reservations about meeting people in a bar. That’s the point of a bar. Feeling good and being close to strangers. So it’s no wonder Bars have been linked to outbreaks in several states. Louisiana health officials have bound at least 100 coronavirus cases to bars in the nightlife of Tigerland in Baton Rouge. Minnesota has recently traced 328 cases back to bars across the state. In IdahoHealth officials closed bars in Ada County after reporting clusters of infection among young adults who visited several bars in downtown Boise. Governors in California, Texas and ArizonaHundreds of newly opened bars have ordered the shutdown of coronavirus cases. Less than two weeks after the reopening of Colorado’s limited-capacity bars, Governor Jared Polis ordered them to close.
I have antibodies. Am i immune now?
- From now on that seems likely for at least a few months. There have been terrifying reports of people appearing to be suffering from a second attack of Covid-19. However, experts say these patients may have a lengthy course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People who are usually infected with the coronavirus to produce Immune molecules called antibodies that are Protective proteins made in response to infection. These antibodies can last in the body only two to three monthsThis may seem worrying, but it is completely normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it is highly unlikely to be possible in a short window of time after the initial infection or make people sick the second time.
I am a small business owner. Can I get relief?
- The Stimulus bills issued in March provide help to the millions of American small businesses. Eligible are companies and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The assistance offered, administered by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. But many people have seen no payouts yet. Even those who have received help are confused: the rules are draconian and some are stuck Money they cannot use. Many small business owners get less than expected or to hear nothing at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
What will the school look like in September?
- It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule that requires the effort of this fall Learn online, provisional childcare and stunted working days keep going. California’s two largest public school districts – Los Angeles and San Diego – said on July 13th that Lessons will only be held remotely in the fallciting concerns that the growth of coronavirus infections in their areas poses too great a risk to students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll around 825,000 students. They are the largest to date in the country, giving up plans to partially physically return to the classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution is not an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the largest country, New York City hybrid plans This includes a few days in the classroom and other days online. There is no national guideline yet. Therefore, check regularly with your city school system about what is going on in your community.
“N.H.S. Test and Trace is one of the largest contact tracking and verification systems in the world and it was set up quickly, using the UK’s existing health protection networks to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” said Dido Harding, chairman of the program. said in a statement on Monday. “We always knew that N.H.S. Test and trace must be local by default and must not be operated alone. “
The government didn’t say how it would handle its £ 108 million or $ 141 million contract with Serco. The government has until the end of August to decide whether to expand the contract up to $ 535 million.
Local health directors said bringing the London-run system under the umbrella of the regional health authorities could create record-keeping difficulties. You said it is important to make sure that national and local systems do not repeat each other’s work.
However, public health officials said engaging local authorities could make people more amenable to following official instructions. Several areas have already been tested with the new system.
For one thing, they said, people seemed more likely to take calls coming from local area codes. Local authorities are also largely responsible for helping people who lack housing, income, savings, or access to food that would allow them to isolate themselves for two weeks.
Still, England offers less support than some countries with more successful contact tracing systems. In Germany, for example, people who have to be quarantined their regular wages continue to be paid for a time. In China, the rent and food of people who are to be isolated at home are paid for by the government.
In England, many people in insecure employment may not be paid at all or may be made redundant if they have to stay home from work. Others cannot afford to live on assigned sick pay.