By Chris Young LDRS
Door to door Covid tests in areas of Bradford with the highest infection rates have revealed infection rates of around 10%.
At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee this week, members were given updates on Covid testing in Bradford.
One way public health officials are attempting to reduce Bradford’s high infection rates has been to send staff to some neighbourhoods, knocking door to door and offering Covid tests.
If people test positive then households are offered advice on self-isolating. Tuesday’s meeting heard that one in ten of the people tested with these door to door tests – a figure one Councillor described as “astonishing.”
Ian Day, Assistant Director for Neighbourhood and Customer Services, told members that the Council had been testing on average 1,000 households a week – although the past week staff managed to test 2,000 households.
The Committee heard that Public Health data was used to determine areas with the highest infection rates, or areas where rates are likely to rise in the near future.
These areas would be broken down to groups of streets, with each group containing hundreds of households.
When the visits started, staff merely knocked on doors and hoped people would be home. In recent weeks the Council has sent staff out to neighbourhoods two days before to inform people there would be testing. He said this has had a “massive impact” on the numbers of people getting tested.
Councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) asked how effective these visits were. He said: “There is a lot of work being done knocking on doors of people who will be asymptomatic? Most people who have got it will be symptomatic and know they’ve got it.
“How many of these tests are coming back positive?”
Mr Day said: “Some of these areas aren’t currently high infection rates, but if we don’t do anything the rates will be high there.
“The information we get from testing we’ve carried out suggests about 10 per cent of home tests are positive. That is quite high compared with the overall district. So if we did 2,000 tests last week, that means 200 will have tested positive. It shows how impactful this testing can be, as these people who previously didn’t know they were infected are not able to self isolate.”
Cllr Griffiths, who worked as a GP, said: “I’m astonished at the 10 per cent positivity rate. It does not feel right. If 10 per cent of the population had it it would have burned the disease out three months ago. It boggles me.”
Mr Day said: “Public health analysts estimated it would be about five per cent. We are clearly targeting the right areas to be coming back with such high rates of infection.
He added the visits also allowed staff to speak to households and, if they are already self-isolating, informing them how they can access services from shopping deliveries to dog walking.
Members were told that national figures showed just 18 per cent of people advised to self-isolate did so and that it was vital people followed advice to stop the spread.