A new local contact tracing system is being launched in Oxfordshire to trace people who have recently tested positive for Covid-19.

Oxfordshire County Council and the county’s five district councils will work to contact people that the NHS test and trace national system has been unable to reach.

The local system does not replace the national system which already reaches around 64 per cent of close contacts in the county.

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Where local Oxfordshire County Council call handlers are still unable to contact people, trained staff from the city and district councils will visit cases at home and deliver letters explaining why the council is trying to get in touch and asking people to contact the call centre.

People contacted will be advised to isolate, talked through how to access local support when isolating, and asked about details of their close contacts so these can then be followed up by the national NHS Test and Trace team.

The service will run seven days a week with calls coming from the council using a local (01865) phone number.

Text messages will also be sent to people with mobile phones telling them to expect a call.

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Oxfordshire County Council Consultant in Public Health Adam Briggs said: “Our local contact tracing system provides another layer of support to help control Covid-19 in Oxfordshire.

“If you are contacted, it will be a locally based person on the other end of the phone.

"They will talk to you about what you need to do to protect your friends and family whilst isolating, and about what support is available nearby."

He added: “The overall aim is simple – to limit the transmission of Covid-19.

"By isolating when you have symptoms, getting a test, and picking up the phone when we call, we will give ourselves an even better chance to #stopthespread.”