NEARLY a third of close contacts of people with coronavirus are not being reached by the test and trace system in Reading, amid a record number of new positive cases.

Data from the Department for Health and Social care shows 2,455 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Reading were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and December 9.

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That means 305 new cases were transferred in the latest seven-day period – the largest increase since the regime began.

Contact tracers ask new patients to give details for anyone they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.

The local system contacts people that the national system has failed to contact, helping the overall system to reach the 80 per cent + of contacts considered necessary for contact tracing to have an impact on slowing the spread of the virus.

This led to 5,508 close contacts being identified over the period – those not managed by local health protection teams, which are dealt with through a call centre or online.

But just 68.1 per cent of those were reached, meaning 1,756 people were not contacted or did not respond.

That was up from the 65 per cent reached in the period to December 2.

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Across England, 92.3 per cent of contacts not managed by local health protection teams were reached and told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the latest week to December 9.

Local health protection teams deal with cases linked to settings such as hospitals, schools and prisons.

The contact tracing rate including these cases was 92.7 per cent, up from 85.9 per cent the week before.

Around 97,000 new cases were transferred nationally in the week to December 9.