Burnet Institute research is helping to inform proposals to shift contact tracing from Victoria’s Health Department to local hubs as part of a community-based response to COVID-19.
The Age is reporting that the mayors of three Melbourne municipalities, Yarra and Hobsons Bay councils and Mitchell Shire, have written to state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos calling for local communities to play a greater role in contact tracing in particular to help drive down infections.
The mayors’ proposal is based on Burnet research demonstrating that a community-based initiative for the provision of prevention, detection, tracing, care and support can effectively increase uptake and timeliness of the COVID-19 public health response by the state government.
Burnet Institute Head of Public Health, Professor Mark Stoové, told The Age that contact tracing is enhanced by trust between the interviewee and the infected patient.
“Contact tracing effort involves a lot of very intrusive questions about where someone has travelled, where their close contacts are and the environments they visited,” Professor Stoové said.
“If those interviews can be undertaken and recorded and the person supported through a local service, then that’s only going to strengthen the reliability of the information they provide and the effectiveness of contact tracing in closing down clusters.”
City of Yarra mayor Misha Coleman told The Age community-based testing centres had been effective in keeping infection numbers low in her municipality and supporting people who needed to be in quarantine.
Click here to read The Age article in full.