Breaking COVID19

More than 130,000 people at risk of unknowingly spreading coronavirus have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace

Screenshot 2020 07 06 at 19.32.54
  • The weekly NHS Test and Trace statistics have been published, showing that more than 130,000 that may have otherwise have been at risk of unknowingly spreading the virus have been reached and asked to self-isolate
  • Weekly statistics have been developed to include test turnaround times, demonstrating that the time it takes for results to be delivered has been significantly reduced
  • Improvements to testing and tracing continue, so that we reach more people at risk of spreading the virus as quickly as possible, with 87% satisfied with the service

Statistics covering the fourth week of operation (18 to 24 June) of the new NHS Test and Trace service were published on Thursday 2 July.

The fourth set of data demonstrates that in one month of operation, more than 130,000 people who may have been at risk of unknowingly spreading the virus have been reached by the service and asked to self-isolate.

Further information on the work of all 3 tiers of contact tracers within NHS Test and Trace is also included, demonstrating that fewer cases are having to be escalated through the tiered system to health protection teams as complex cases. The data shows that those testing positive outside of complex settings are providing tracers with a higher number of contacts.

Testing turnaround times will now be included in weekly statistics on NHS Test and Trace, showing the speed at which tests are returned in the first month of the service’s operation. Data from 28 May to 24 June shows significant improvements in the time it takes to deliver results, with tests at drive-through and mobile testing sites delivering the fastest results. By the 24 June, 96.7% of tests at mobile sites, and 98% of tests at regional test centres were being returned the day after the tests were taken.

Improvements in the speed at which test results are returned is the result of extensive work to develop the NHS Test and Trace service, including increased numbers of collections of swabs at test sites, more mobile testing units traveling to hard to reach areas and new tools to unpack swabs quickly at Lighthouse Labs.

Home testing kits can now be posted using any of the 30,000 Royal Mail priority postboxes, collected throughout the day. Satellite testing at care homes has also been improved to return 73.9% of tests the day after tests were taken.

To reach more people at risk of spreading the virus further, NHS Test and Trace has also changed the times at which potential contacts will be called, based on data showing that people are more likely to respond to the service at particular times of the day.

These extensive efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus will continue over the coming months, to further improve the service and the speed at which positive cases and contacts are informed.

As a result, a recent customer feedback survey, conducted by Public Health England and with 30,213 respondents, showed that 87% of cases and contacts who completed the NHS Test and Trace system were either very satisfied or satisfied with the system. Only 3% reported being dissatisfied with the service.

Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, Dido Harding, said:

The data published demonstrates the tireless efforts underway to continue to improve NHS Test and Trace. We have seen significant improvements in the time it takes to process test results, an important step to rapidly reach the contacts of those testing positive and ask them to self-isolate to prevent them spreading the virus further. I am very grateful to all those who have played their part and responded so well to the service.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, get a test immediately. You can be confident that you will receive your result quickly, with NHS Test and Trace reaching out to you if you test positive to help you identify your contacts and protect those around you. I urge anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow the advice they receive.

NHS Test and Trace is working closely with local authorities across the country to help them respond to cases in their area, sharing data from the service to inform action to stop the spread of the virus in local communities.

The data published includes test turnaround times, as well as further information on positive test results, those who have shared contacts, and the contacts reached and asked to self-isolate.

Overall the data from the fourth week of operation (18 to 24 June) of NHS Test and Trace shows that:

  • 75% (4,639) of the people who had tested positive for coronavirus and were transferred to NHS Test and Trace were reached by our contact tracers and asked to share details of their close contacts. This compares to 72.3% in the previous week.
  • 73% (16,804) of close contacts were reached and advised to self-isolate. This compares to 82.4% in the previous week.

In total, since 28 May 2020:

  • 26,905 people have tested positive for coronavirus in England during this period, with 27,125 transferred for contact tracing to include those that tested positive before contact tracing began
  • 73.9% (20,039) of the people who tested positive for coronavirus and were transferred to NHS Test and Trace were reached by our contact tracers and asked to share details of their close contacts.
  • 86.4% (132,525) of close contacts were reached and advised to self-isolate.

In the new network of diagnostic testing infrastructure between 18 and 24 June:

  • 98% of tests results from the 70 regional test sites were returned the day after the test was taken
  • 96.7% of test results from the 166 mobile testing units were returned the day after the test was taken
  • 73.9% of satellite test results were returned the day after the test was taken
  • 25.5% of home test kit results were returned the day after the test was taken