Frontline staff plea to Covid-19 cases
Carmarthenshire County Council’s contact tracing team are urging people to join their efforts and stop the spread of Covid-19.
Many of the council’s staff, including those from the contact centre, housing, leisure, planning and environment teams have left behind their usual jobs to work on the frontline to help the fight against Covid-19 as cases continue to surge.
They are urging people who have tested positive for Covid-19 to engage with contact tracers to help them track the virus and stop it spreading.
The Test, Trace and Protect team’s work is vital in helping reduce the spread of the virus by identifying recent contacts of people who have tested positive and giving them advice.
Up to 50 staff can be working seven days a week to handle demand – a level which they are currently working at as cases remain high.
Contact tracers are immediately alerted to new positive cases in the county throughout the day and night.
Adele Lodwig, who is redeployed from the Housing Options team as the Infection Control Manager for Covid-19, said: “We are adapting and changing daily. We bring more staff in as and when there is an increase of cases as we cannot easily predict how many positive cases we will have to deal with each day. It requires a great deal of flexibility and we surge our staff to meet the demand.”
Providing recent contact details from anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 is critical in the fight against reducing the spread.
“Sometimes there is only very limited contacts around an individual, but often it can mean a large number of people have to be contacted and asked to self-isolate, for example children in schools when they were open,” said Adele.
“We absolutely rely on people’s honesty to trace anyone who they may have come in to contact with – we understand that people may not want to tell us where they’ve been, but this information is vital if we are to protect others, particularly the most vulnerable, from becoming ill. This is always our overriding priority and the information we are provided with is confidential. We are finding that ‘Covid fatigue’ has set in so some people don’t want to isolate. It’s totally understandable, but isolating is critical to containing the spread. The vaccine rollout is a major step forward in protecting Carmarthenshire residents, but will only work with a robust track and trace service operating until enough of our community is vaccinated.”
Contact tracers also have the challenging task of trying to extract the information from some people who are reluctant to give it.
Hywel Thomas, who has moved across from his role as Actif Community Co-ordinator to join the team, said: “The majority of people we call are thankful for our help and advice but there are a minority of people that are reluctant to pass on close contact details. This maybe for a number of reasons such as not wishing to divulge work contacts in fear of their colleagues having to isolate and losing their jobs. However, once we explain the process they are more than happy to open up to us. We are not here to judge but to take down the facts, share advice to keep everyone safe and ensure that the person takes the necessary measures to stop the spread. Having worked in this environment and speaking to people who are really struggling with it has certainly opened my eyes to how dangerous and nasty this virus can be.”