One in five people potentially exposed to the COVID-19 virus are unable to be traced because they left the wrong contact details at venues in Penrith and Carlisle.
Cumbria County Council is urging people to make sure they leave the correct phone numbers when asked by establishments to help the COVID-19 track and trace system.
More than 1,200 people received a text message from the authority advising them to get tested after it was discovered that people who had tested positive for the virus had visited pubs in Penrith and Carlisle.
It has been revealed that between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of contact numbers left at the venues were either false, incorrect – with either too few or too many digits – or not legible.
Now the public are being asked to stop and doublecheck the details they provide, and wherever possible provide a mobile phone number rather than a landline.
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s director of public health, said: “This information is absolutely vital to our efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
“Being able to contact people quickly and easily if they have potentially been exposed to someone who is infectious is hugely important.
“I know it is a bit of an inconvenience, but I urge people to provide their contact details when asked and make certain they are correct and readable.
“Almost one in five of the people we think may potentially have been exposed last week will not hear from us directly because of unusable information.
“It’s a simple thing to do, just doublecheck your details.”
The key public health messages remain:
• Wash or sanitise hands regularly;
• Observe social distancing rules;
• Wear face masks or coverings in enclosed public spaces;
• If you have symptoms, self-isolate and get tested;
• Follow advice to self-isolate if asked.