COVID-19: test, trace and local outbreak management

Below you will find the latest information and guidance regarding testing and tracing, and local outbreak management.

We are working as fast as we can to update this page with useful information for you. Please follow @LGAwellbeing for the latest updates and keep checking back. Our Knowledge Hub includes resources, latest government guidance, case studies and all the current information. Please also see our FAQs for more detailed updates and our latest media lines related to coronavirus.

Local outbreak management

Current advice

New National Restrictions from 5 November

Restrictions in each tier (November 2020)

COVID-19 Winter Plan and LGA response

More information on the impact on local services, including funding, is available elsewhere on this page and on the wider website.

Other resources and information

Local restrictions: areas with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for local councils and LRFs during the coronavirus outbreak (updated October 2020)

Additional funding to local government (October 2020)

GOV.UK – local restrictions support grant - guidance for local authorities

PHE Coronavirus communication materials

Government's approach to managing local coronavirus outbreaks

Government guidance on containing and managing local coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks (COVID-19 contain framework)

Update on Test, track and local outbreaks, LGA Councillors’ Forum (July 2020)

Principles for the design of COVID-19 Local Outbreak Plans from the Association of Directors of Public Health, Faculty of Public Health, LGA, PHE, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, and the UK Chief Environmental Health Officers group. (new)

ADPH explainer – local outbreak plans (pdf, July 2020)

ADPH explainer - data (pdf, July 2020)

GOV.UK – list of DHSC Regional Convenors (pdf, July 2020)

Testing and tracing

Information for local leaders

LGA suggested steps for increased localisation of testing and tracing (November 2020)

Local authorities receiving lateral flow tests (November 2020) 

Clinical evaluation of Lateral Flow Tests (November 2020) 

LGA responds to latest weekly test and trace figures (November 2020)

Parliamentary report on lessons from COVID−19 on public services and LGA response (November 2020)

Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace (updated November 2020)

COVID-19: local contact tracing case studies (November 2020)

LGA statement on rapid roll out of COVID-19 test kits to councils (November 2020)

Briefing for Opposition Day Debate on local contact tracing (October 2020)

GOV.UK – the test and trace support payment scheme: implementation guide for local authorities in England (pdf, October 2020)

The initial findings of a DHSC commissioned study on infection rates. (July 2020) 

GOV.UK – test and trace strategy launch Q&A (May 2020)

GOV.UK – contract tracing: letters to directors of public health (May 2020)

PHE letter to Directors of Public Health on contract tracing (pdf, 24 April 2020)

Information for the public

Guidance on Test and Trace in the workplace for employers, businesses and workers on employers’ legal duties around staff who are self-isolating (October 2020)

Community champions scheme (October 2020)

Coronavirus: getting tested Guidance: on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested.

Developing NHS Test and Trace: business plan (30 July) sets out the next steps in the development of the NHS Test and Trace service and priorities for the next 3 to 6 months

GOV.UK – test and trace support payment scheme: claiming financial support

GOV.UK – NHS test and trace: how it works

GOV.UK – types and uses of coronavirus tests

GOV.UK – how tests and testing kits for coronavirus work

GOV.UK – NHS test and trace: workplace guidance

GOV.UK – coronavirus: antibody tests

DHSC guidance for the public on the different types of coronavirus testing available, including which types of test they should use and when, and what they should do when they receive a test result (July 2020).

Care home testing

GOV.UK - new guidance to support safe care home visits during lockdown

GOV.UK – allocation of COVID-19 swab tests in England

GOV.UK – COVID-19: our action plan for adult social care

GOV.UK – apply for coronavirus tests for a care home

GOV.UK – letter regarding further information on testing in care homes (pdf, 7 May 2020)

GOV.UK – whole home testing for care home staff and residents (pdf, May 2020)

GOV.UK – letter from Department of Health and Social Care regarding the roll out of whole care home testing (pdf, 13 May 2020)

Local data

All chief executives and directors of public health received a letter, and its attachment, which capture the data sources on COVID-19 that are currently publicly available on the Test and Trace service, outbreaks and broader surveillance related to COVID-19; summarised as follows:

COVID-19 cases data from LG Inform

Local authority report showing the number and rates of COVID-19 hospital cases by authority, compared to others

England overview report showing the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths across England as a whole, and the top ten councils for number and rate of cases 

Weekly deaths report providing a summary of Office for National Statistics (ONS) weekly deaths data

Care homes report focusing on deaths in care homes in particular

Vulnerable groups report providing estimates of local authority populations likely to be vulnerable to COVID-19

Area characteristics report comparing case rates across all local authorities to other factors at a local area level, such as deprivation.

National data

Government figures

Coronavirus cases

The R number and growth rate in the UK

National figures for COVID-19 tests, cases, deaths for the UK and every country of the UK

National figures for the NHS Test and Trace service

PHE Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID -19) Surveillance Report

Trend dashboard with sub-national data

NHS-Digital Progression dashboard

Notification of data controllers to share information


Government response to vaccine trial (November 2020)

Current advice on priority groups (November 2020)

LGA press release on councils’ possible role in mass vaccinations  (November 2020)

Support for councils

Our testing, contact tracing and outbreak management Knowledge Hub for councils includes resources, latest government guidance, case studies and all the current information. You need to be a member of the closed group to use it.

Further information is available in our FAQs.

Support for DPHs

Support for local leaders

Find out more about  our developing support offer for local leaders. This currently includes:


LGA General COVID-19 support offer  


The LGA has been working with councils and partners to develop a series of events on test, trace and outbreak management: 

10 July: Test and Trace the LGA facilitated a webinar on behalf of Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, who was working at the centre of Government helping shape and implement the Test and Trace arrangements. Aimed at Chairs of Health and Wellbeing Board and Portfolio Holders for Public Health and Social Care it provided an overview of the work on local outbreak planning, how this is working in practice and looked at the role of the local councillor in outbreak planning. 

20 July: Contain Framework the LGA facilitated a further event on behalf of Tom Riordan aimed at Chief Executives and Directors of Public Health. Tom and colleagues explained the new ‘Contain Framework’ which sets out the national and local system for outbreak planning, including the roles and responsibilities nationally and locally; the designation of local authorities and what that means in practice; and new powers being given to councils and to Ministers.

22 JulyFood Processing - Experiences, Lessons Learned, and the Role of the HSE in outbreak management

23 July: Testing Prototypes, Communications and Engagement

24 July: Contain Framework – update for Council Leaders the LGA facilitated a further event on behalf of Tom Riordan aimed at Council Leaders. Tom explained the new ‘Contain Framework’ and held a Q&A session with Council Leaders.

25 August: The LGA alongside the Contain Pillar of NHS Test and Trace ran a webinar on data on Tuesday 25th August, 10:30-12:00. Dr Carolyn Wilkins OBE, who is working at the centre of Government to implement the Test and Trace arrangements, joined colleagues from the Joint Biosecurity Centre in presenting on how the available data can support local systems in planning and responding to a local outbreak. We will also welcomed speakers from Doncaster Council, London Borough of Hackney Council and Hertfordshire County Council who shared how they have used data in local outbreak management. 


8 September: Local testing and contact tracing systems: local innovation and lessons learnt

24 September: The reopening of universities: supporting councils with the implications for local areas

Find out more about our previous and forthcoming webinars in our events programme.

Vulnerable people

Please visit the vulnerable people and volunteering page for a range of resources.

Health inequalities

Please visit the public health page for a range of resources on health inequalities.