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. Please also see our FAQs for more detailed updates and our latest media lines related to coronavirus.

Information and guidance

Updated guidance December 2021

Omicron variant identified in the UK (updated 8 December 2021)

Recent and upcoming COVID changes in England

COVID guidance for local government

Health and social care workers winter vaccinations campaign resources

Coronavirus communications materials (PHE)

COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings

You can find further useful and updated information in the categories below.

Local outbreak management

Current advice

Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread

Autumn and Winter plan 2021

Roadmap out of lockdown

Contain Outbreak Management Fund 2021 to 2022

Contain Outbreak Management Fund 2020 to 2021

Local Restrictions Support Grants

More related information can be found on our information page 'COVID-19: vulnerable groups and volunteering'.

Other resources and information

PHE Coronavirus communication materials

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. 

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

Surge testing for new coronavirus (COVID-19) variants

LGA Briefing on Lateral Flow Testing (27 November 2020)

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) 

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)

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

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

Testing in schools

Please visit the COVID-19: children’s services, education and schools page for Information and guidance related to children and young people including testing in schools.

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

Trend dashboard with sub-national data

NHS-Digital Progression dashboard

Notification of data controllers to share information


For information on vaccinations, visit our COVID-19: vaccinations page.

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  


Find out more about our previous and forthcoming webinars and access presentations from past events in our events programme.


Prevention and intervention: local authority approaches to prevention of the spread of COVID-19, 26 November 2020 


COVID-19 compliance and enforcement webinar, 21 October 2020


Local outbreaks and living with COVID-19, 28 September 2020

Local testing and contact tracing systems: local innovation and lessons learnt, 8 September 2020


Data for Local Outbreak Planning webinar, 25 August 2020

Local outbreaks and living with COVID-19, 13 August 2020


Contain Framework – update for Council Leaders, 24 July

Testing Prototypes, Communications and Engagement, 23 July

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

Contain Framework, 20 July

Test and Trace, 10 July

Many other LGA events have a Covid-19 focus; more information is available on our events webpages.

Health inequalities

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

Archived information and guidance

Below is a collection of archived guidance, that is now out of date in relation to the pandemic but may still be valuable.

Infection rates and November interim findings from COVID-19 transmission study

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

GOV.UK – Community testing: explainer and guide for local delivery (December 2020)

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

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)

PHE Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID -19) Surveillance Report