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Tracers failed to interview more than 500 people within 48 hours last week

October 15, 2020 11:00 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton today said the Scottish Government "wasted the time people gave them over the summer" after new statistics showed that last week hundreds more people weren't interviewed about their whereabouts and contacts within 48 hours of their positive test being logged.

Scottish Liberal Democrat analysis of today's Public Health Scotland data shows the number of people waiting over 48 hours between their positive case being logged and being interviewed by contact tracers:

Week ending

Number of people waiting 48-72 hours

Number of people waiting more than 72 hours

Total waiting more than 48 hours
11 October 368 199 567
4 October 228 213 441
27 September 120 57 177

20 September

49 23 72
13 September 57 39 96
6 September 31 7 38
Time between the record appearing on the Contact Tracing Case Management System and the positive individual being interviewed

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:
"Test and trace isn't withstanding the pressure. Last week alone government tracers failed to interview 567 people who had tested positive within 48 hours. Within that, 200 people had to wait more than three days to tell tracers about their contacts and whereabouts. That is an outrage.
"These delays risk the further spread of the virus. It puts people's close contacts at greater risk. It also prevents understanding about wider transmission and spreads associated with locations, where people unknown to the individual could have come into contact with the virus. Every minute counts.

"It was the choice of ministers to only actually deploy half the number of contact tracers that they insisted were available. That is looking more and more bizarre with every day that goes past.
"The current capacity is obviously not enough to keep people safe. The Scottish Government needs to explain urgently how their system will set about interviewing everyone who tests positive within hours, not days.

"The public have made major sacrifices over the past 7 months to save lives and give the government time to get a handle on fighting the virus. Everyone's efforts saw it driven to low levels. But the Scottish Government wasted the time people gave them over the summer. The statistics today show basic systems still aren't up to the job and with a second wave unfolding that could have a severe cost for our NHS, health and freedoms."