Health Policy
New NHS Track and Trace offers mixed picture 

By - Integrated Care Journal

The newly released NHS Track and Trace data has shown the first decrease in positive cases since July.

The 2nd week of August has shown an eight per cent decrease in the total number of positive cases compared to the previous week. Whilst the number of people positive with Covid-19 decreased, the number of people tested increased by two per cent. The data was collected in England between 13 and 19 August.

Responding to the latest NHS Test and Trace figures for England, Danny Mortimer, Deputy Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The data shows a yo-yo effect with vital improvements in some areas balanced out by steps back in others. ” 

Saffron Cordery, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Providers, continued Mr Mortimer's sentiment, stating that the report revealed a “mixed picture. ” 

Outside of those who tested positive for Covid-19, 7,941 people were transferred to the contact tracing system between 13 and 19 of August, an increase of 65 per cent from the previous week.

However, the reasoning behind the higher number of contact tracing participants is partly due to a temporary infrastructure issue, which resulted in a delay between people testing positive and being transferred to NHS Test and Trace. Of those transferred onto the contact tracing system, 72.6 per cent was reached and asked to provide information about their contacts, compared to 79.0 per cent in the previous week.

“The first decrease in positive cases since July is welcome but comes as testing capacity is down. The 65 per cent increase in people transferred to the contact tracing system appears good news but came as a result of IT problems in the previous week. The number of people reached afterwards has also fallen,” Mr Mortimer added.

The new report released for the week of 13 August also revealed that 24,197 people were identified as coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive between 13 August and 19 August. Of these, 75.5 per cent was reached and asked to self-isolate, an increase of 3.9 per cent from the week prior.

Overall Ms Cordery summaries the new data released by NHS Track and Trace as “encouraging”, although Ms Cordery stated that it was “worrying to see that too many people are still not being reached by the system. ” 

For coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in the UK:  

  • 1,197,705 tests were processed in the UK, across all pillars, between the week from 13 August to 19 August, this is approximately consistent with the previous week.

  •  Testing capacity between 13 August and 19 August was at 2,289,657 tests per week, a decreased of 3% since the previous week.

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