Stroud District Green Councillors call to save lives in the future by creating new local public health workforce to track and trace future corona outbreaks.
Gloucestershire County Councillor, Rachel Smith (Green Minchinhampton), has welcomed the Government’s announcement to move quickly towards establishing a network of contact tracers for identifying all people with the Corona virus and then tracing all close contacts of each identified case to contain further outbreaks of the Coronavirus epidemic.
Rachel welcomed the massive increase in testing achieved by the government, but added:
“On its own, it is not enough - we also need a community-based response allowing us to stamp out the inevitable outbreaks of Covid-19 which will arise as the lockdown is lifted. It’s essential that the Government invests in a new and locally based public health workforce of case finders and contact tracers. For example, 20-30 more staff for a district the size of Stroud who are trained to use local knowledge and insights could reduce micro outbreaks in our local community. The Government is working on new technologies such as phone apps, but these will not be sufficient in themselves.”
Cllr Catherine Braun said:
“Phone apps are a key part of the solution, but many residents do not have smartphones and trust is also an issue. In any case we will need skilled people with local insights to identify Covid-positive cases and to break the chain of infection. We now know that this virus will be circulating for a number of years and this important task cannot be left to remote call centres and volunteers in the medium term.”
Richard Dean, a local doctor working in Dursley added: “The Green Party is right about the importance of local knowledge and skills in contact tracing. The compliance with lockdown has provided a short window in time to get prepared for any outbreak that may occur as the country is released from lockdown. However, we should not be overlooking the impact of routine tests and investigations of people who have not got Covid, I fear this could result in a huge problem after lockdown in terms of the recurrence and upsurge of misdiagnoses, missed cancers and missed treatments. This is a matter of saving lives over the next year or more.”