PHA Launches Covid-19 Tracing Programme


Contact tracing to help limit second wave of coronavirus.

A new contact tracing programme for Covid-19 to help examine how Northern Ireland can limit the impact of a second wave of the disease is being launched by the Public Health Agency (PHA).

From Monday 27 April, the PHA will begin a pilot programme of contact tracing which will help inform the planned roll out of Northern Ireland-wide contact tracing.

Dr Jackie Hyland, Health Protection Consultant at the PHA, said: “The aim of contact tracing is to identify clusters of infection and prevent further spread of Covid-19.

“The contact tracing in the pilot programme will focus on priority groups within the population where clusters of infection may be presenting. Within the current pilot we will be exploring this with a number of care homes.

“This involves new ways of working so there is a lot still that we need to learn about the process.

“We have teamed up with colleagues in the university sector, the Health and Social Care Trusts, and Environmental Health to put in place all the necessary logistics and our thanks to all those who have offered and provided this assistance.

“As Health Minister Robin Swann announced at the Health Committee meeting on Thursday [23 April], a wider programme of contact tracing will be rolled out across Northern Ireland. The processes tested in this pilot programme will be crucial in helping to shape and implement future contact tracing activity.

“It’s still important that we also remind people of the part they can play in preventing the spread of coronavirus – adhere to the social distancing guidelines and make sure that you wash your hands regularly. If you do become unwell, telephone your GP, do not attend in person to a medical facility unless advised by a healthcare professional.”

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