Pregnant woman with Covid contacted EIGHT DAYS after positive test

Pregnant woman, 33, who caught Covid-19 is contacted by Test and Trace service EIGHT DAYS after she tested positive and was nearing end of self-isolation period

  • Sally Fazeli, from Preston, Lancashire, received call as self-isolation was ending
  • Mrs Fazeli first experienced symptoms – a cough and a fever – on September 19
  • Had a test the following day and received positive result on September 21 
  • But she did not receive a call from Test and Trace until September 28 

A pregnant woman who caught Covid-19 was only contacted by the NHS’s Test and Trace service eight days after she learned of her positive result.

Sally Fazeli, 33, from Preston, Lancashire, received the call – asking for details of people she had been in contact with and offering advice on self-isolating – just as her own period of staying away from others was ending.

Her husband, Ayman Fazeli, said: ‘They said on the call, ironically, they knew she was in the vulnerable category by way of being pregnant and that they wanted to get in touch with her as soon as they could.’

The mother-of-two is just the latest Covid-19 sufferer who has reported problems and delays with NHS Test and Trace.  

Many people have been unable to get tests or have been forced to travel long distances to receive them.

It was then revealed at the weekend that an error at Public Health England meant 16,000 coronavirus patients had not been traced.  

Sally Fazeli, 33, from Preston, Lancashire, caught Covid-19 but only contacted by the NHS’s Test and Trace service eight days after she learned of her positive result. Pictured: The mother-of-two with her husband Ayman

Mrs Fazeli first experienced symptoms – a cough and a fever – on September 19, had a test the following day and received notification of the positive result on September 21.

In that message she was told to isolate for 10 days from the point when the symptoms first appeared.

But she did not receive a call from Test and Trace until September 28 – nine days into the 10-day self-isolation period.

Mrs Fazeli, who is 20 weeks pregnant, said: ‘They said “Have you managed to get the help and support you needed?”

‘I was like “Luckily my mum isn’t too far away so she was able to get us some things” because we ran out of the essentials, and both of us couldn’t go food shopping or leave the house.

‘He said because I was in the vulnerable category I would have been able to access more support in that area, which I didn’t know.

received the call – asking for details of people she had been in contact with and offering advice on self-isolating – just as her own period of staying away from others was ending

‘I was like “I guess it doesn’t even matter now anyway”.’

As one of his wife’s contacts, Mr Fazeli – who, along with the couple’s two children, tested negative – then received a call himself on October 1.

He said: ‘It was all a bit ‘after the horse had bolted’ kind of thing – so not exactly impressive.’

He added: ‘I watched that Panorama thing last week when it had contact tracers saying they’re champing at the bit to help, and they’re sat there twiddling their thumbs, waiting to be assigned cases to call – it doesn’t seem to stack up.’ 

Shane Walker, from Wigan, received a similarly delayed Test and Trace call after he was tested on September 19.

‘The speaker said they were from Test and Trace and asked if I had any questions,’ he told PA. ‘At that point, I told them that I had only one day left of isolating.’

Mrs Fazeli did not receive a call from Test and Trace until September 28 – nine days into the 10-day self-isolation period

The 25-year-old, who works in pastoral care at a school, quickly encouraged relevant staff to isolate once he informed them of his positive test.

‘Nobody should have been exposed as I took it upon myself to notify the relevant people and conduct my own test and trace in a way,’ he told PA.

‘Had I not been aware of the rules from working in a school, people may have been exposed due go the lateness of their call.’

Mr and Mrs Fazeli also took it upon themselves to notify people they had been in contact with, including a restaurant where they had celebrated their son’s birthday shortly before Mrs Fazeli started to exhibit symptoms.

‘We did our own due diligence, but not everyone will do that,’ Mr Fazeli said.

He added: ‘It wasn’t a great experience of the service, put it that way.’

Both Mrs Fazeli and Mr Walker have now fully recovered.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock is seen in the House of Commons Chamber as he makes a statement on the coronavirus disease, in London, Britain, October 5

Last month, the testing system was condemned as ‘barely functional’, with one whistleblower revealing they spoke to only one person with coronavirus in four months working as a contact tracer.

And on Monday phone lines crashed following an IT malfunction, meaning contact tracers struggled to reach tens of thousands of potentially infectious people.

The phone line fiasco followed what has been an eventful week for IT malfunctions as an outdated version of Microsoft’s Excel saw a limit on the amount of data a spreadsheet could hold lead to 15,841 people being left off the Test and Trace ‘dashboard’.

This meant that although the infected people were notified of their positive diagnosis and told to stay home, critically their details were not passed to contact tracers, leaving an estimated 40,000 people they had been in contact with unaware that they should have been isolating.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the problem had been half-resolved by 9am on Monday, with 51 per cent of contacts of those 15,841 people having been notified.  

Mr Hancock revealed that he was told on Friday night that the cases had gone missing, and urgent contact tracing had started on Saturday morning.

He laid the blame squarely on ‘legacy’ software system at Public Health England, amid a bitter spat over who was responsible for the shambles. He said he had already ordered it to be replaced.

The extraordinary meltdown was caused by an Excel spreadsheet containing lab results reaching its maximum size, and failing to update. 

Some 15,841 cases between September 25 and October 2 were not uploaded to the government dashboard. 

The technical issue has now been resolved by splitting the Excel files into batches.             

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