The county’s new contact tracing system is dealing with an average of 30 people a day missed nationally, according to Oxfordshire’s director of public health.

Ansaf Azhar gave the update during a meeting of the county council’s health improvement partnership board on Thursday.

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He said: "Oxfordshire now has an effective local contact tracing system. Let me be very clear, this is not replacing the national system, this is complimenting the national system.

"So in other words, those who are not reached by the national system within the first 24 hours will be referred to the local contact tracing, where we are then able to go and follow them up."

Oxfordshire was officially given the go ahead to set up its own contract tracing last month.

Herald Series:

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire director of public health

Mr Azhar said: "Since the inception we have been seeing an average of 30 cases roughly which we have been following up daily.

"I think we have done really well to reach a big proportion of those people, which wouldn't have been reached."

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He said it 'really does add value' and was a 'positive story' for the county in limiting the chain of transmission, adding: "As we go further into the pandemic we would anticipate this will continue to rise and we are scaling up our local contact tracing system on the back of that."

It comes as figures reveal national coronavirus contact tracers have not improved success rates in reaching those in Oxfordshire who should be told to self isolate.

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Data from the Department for Health and Social Care shows 6,561 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the county were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and November 11.

That means 1,243 new cases were transferred in the latest seven-day period – the largest increase since the regime began.

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Contact tracers ask new patients to give details for anyone they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.This led to 17,719 close contacts being identified over the period.

But just 58.7 per cent of those were reached, meaning 7,316 people were not contacted or did not respond. That meant there was no increase on the 58.7 per cent reached in the period to November 4.