THE CARDIFF and Vale Test, Trace, Protect service has announced plans for the way it will work to tackle future challenges.
Following the Welsh Government announcement that funding for Test, Trace, Protect in Wales will continue until March 2022, the Cardiff and Vale Prevention and Response Plan sets out ways of working for the next phase of the pandemic response.
Executive director of public health, Fiona Kinghorn, said that the work of the service in its first year has been absolutely phenomenal.
She said: “During 2020 more than 200,000 Covid tests were undertaken in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
“The prioritisation of school and healthcare staff at key points in the pandemic allowed these vital sectors to continue working and ensured the most vulnerable in our communities received the care and support they required, while the deployment of temporary community testing centres and mobile facilities helped manage outbreaks and stop the spread of the virus.
“Now we are looking to the future and to delivering a service that aims to keep case numbers as low as possible, whilst the national restrictions are lifted and people return to doing the things they enjoy.
“The service has always had a wider remit than just contact tracing and in recent months has provided important support to the rollout of the vaccine.
“Some of those advisors who previously gave advice on testing and self-isolation and helped to get extra support for those who were most vulnerable are now also providing an information service for the mass vaccination programme.
“Elsewhere we have teams working to engage with those in communities where take-up is low.”
The plan details how the health board and Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan councils, with support from Public Health Wales, will continue to work to together to manage the highest risks for reseeding Covid infections in the region, such as variants of concern and international travel.
It builds upon the model of a locally run service, that has been successfully operating since June 2020, and which has been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of Covid.
It also identifies those sectors which will now be covered by a team of super tracers. These include schools, childcare settings, colleges, and universities. The same team will also support the investigation of clusters and cases of concern.