BRACKNELL Forest will soon get its own test and trace system as the council aims to keep coronavirus cases down across the borough.

The local scheme will support the government’s own tracking operation and is set to be rolled out in early November.

This comes as the national test and trace system recorded its lowest weekly figure yet.

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Data published yesterday (October 22) showed less than 60 per cent of close contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus were reached in the week up to October 14, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced his “frustrations” with the system at a press conference yesterday.

He said: “I share people's frustrations and I understand totally why we do need to see faster turnaround times and we need to improve it.”

How will the Bracknell Forest test and trace system work?

Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) said if you get a notification of a positive test result NHS Test and Trace will attempt to contact you to identify people you have been in contact with and will then ask them to self-isolate.

READ MORE: Primary school shuts down after staff member tests positive for coronavirus

If the NHS system cannot reach you, a member of the council’s local contact tracing team will then try to get in touch with you.

Those affected might receive an initial text message from the Bracknell Forest tracing team, who will then follow up with a phone call.

BFC said: “This service is vital in helping to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Why is this being implemented?

Bracknell Forest public health officer Charlotte Pavitt gave details of the local scheme at a meeting of the council’s local outbreak engagement board (LOEB) yesterday (October 22).

This came as Ms Pavitt explained to councillors how the council needed to take greater measures to curb increasing coronavirus infection rates in Bracknell Forest.

She said: “We know that we are currently at level [Tier] one but our rates are increasing rapidly.

“We are confident in our response to outbreaks in businesses, schools and care homes.

READ MORE: Bracknell Forest could face Tier 2 restrictions within weeks, council says

“It’s the community transmission which is our biggest challenge locally and spread within and between households.

“Alongside what we’ve learnt from our partners in the Royal Borough and Slough where rates are higher than ours and continue to grow faster than ours, we know that proactive communication alone isn’t curbing the increasing risk and that has been our main intervention locally to date.

“Our rates are now starting to increase rapidly it seems too.

“So we need to consider additional enforcement and test and trace, which we’re looking to implement locally from the beginning of November.”

Ms Pavitt suggested public health chiefs will advise council bosses whether to take greater interventions should the borough’s infection rate approach the level associated with Tier 2 areas.

What is the current coronavirus picture?

As the News revealed yesterday, council bosses believe Bracknell Forest could be placed in Tier 2 “within weeks” if infection rates do not slow down.

Latest public health data as displayed on the BBC indicates 79 cases were recorded per 100,000 people in Bracknell Forest in the week up to October 19.

Local authority areas are typically placed into Tier 2 if their rate exceeds 100 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

What is Tier 2?

Tier two means the rule of six no longer applies indoors, meaning only one household or ‘bubble’ is allowed together indoors. You are still allowed six people outdoors.

Care homes are closed to external visitors other than in exceptional circumstances under Tier 2.

Under the ‘high’ alert, people may continue to travel to open venues but are encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

They should also avoid travel into Tier three areas where possible.

All other restrictions listed under Tier One still apply, including guidance to work from home where possible, the 10pm closing times for hospitality, wearing masks in shops and social distancing where possible.