Coronavirus: NI contact tracing scheme to be scaled up
Jun. 01, 2020
Nurses and environmental health officers will be among those directly recruited to staff NI's contact tracing operation, Robin Swann has said.
The health minister said the current provision will be scaled up to include directly recruited teams.
NI was the first of the four UK administrations to roll out a coronavirus contact tracing programme .
On Sunday, one more coronavirus-related death was reported by NI's Department of Health.
That brought its total, of mainly hospital deaths, to 523.
Image copyright PACEMAKER Image caption Health Minister Robin Swann said the current contact tracing provision will be scaled up
Q&A: What is NI's contact tracing plan?
"We will be scaling up the current contact tracing provision to include teams recruited directly to staff the operation," Mr Swann said.
"This will include professionals such as nurses and environmental health officers for contact tracing with lead clinicians and health protection consultants advising on complex situations and local clusters or outbreaks.
"The work will be supported through the deployment of trained volunteers when required."
On Sunday, First Minister Arlene Foster said Northern Ireland could have contact tracing for "quite some time, possibly even up to two years".
She said contact tracing was vital to "make sure that we know where the virus is in our community".
Image caption Arlene Foster said contact tracing was vital
Mr Swann said there would also be a "call centre element to this service which will be able to provide general information to symptomatic individuals and their contacts on a range of Covid-19 issues".
"Digital tools will also be developed to complement the telephone-based contact tracing. Options are under active consideration," he added.
Everyone over the age of five with symptoms of Covid-19 is now eligible for testing.
Testing can be booked directly on the NHS website or by ringing 119.
People with symptoms can be tested at one of the four drive through test centres in Belfast, Londonderry, Craigavon, or Enniskillen, or via a postal self-test kit which will be dispatched to their home.