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1. What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is an important part of the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy. The strategy is being delivered through the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service.

As soon as people start to display symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), they should arrange to take a test as quickly as possible whilst they and members of their household self-isolate. Contact tracing is reliant on tests being taken quickly. On receiving a positive result people are asked to support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service by reporting their recent contacts to the local contact tracer so that they can be contacted and notified to self-isolate (and take a test if they too are displaying symptoms), to help stop the spread of the virus.

It may not be possible to trace all individuals referred to the contact tracing service. For various reasons contact details will not have been provided for some individuals and others may not have responded to calls, texts or emails from tracing teams.

2. National headline figures

Between 28 June and 4 July:

  • of the 253 positive cases that were eligible for follow-up, 206 (81%) were reached and asked to provide details of their recent contacts
  • of the 540 close contacts that were eligible for follow-up, 461 (85%) were successfully contacted and advised accordingly, or had their case otherwise resolved

In total, since 21 June:

  • of the 582 positive cases that were eligible for follow-up, 480 (82%) were reached and asked to provide details of their recent contacts
  • of the 1,156 close contacts that were eligible for follow-up, 1,011 (87%) were successfully contacted and advised accordingly, or had their case otherwise resolved
Table 1: Number of positive cases referred to the contact tracing system, up to 4 July 2020
  Latest week 28 June to 4 July 2020 Cumulative total 21 June to 4 July 2020
Eligible for follow-up by local contract tracing teams 253 582
Not eligible for follow-up by local contact tracing teams 97 219
Total  350 801

Source: NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS)

The majority of cases not eligible for follow-up by local contact tracers occur in closed settings such as hospitals, care homes and prisons. These cases are escalated to regional teams for onward management.

The chart shows that, over the latest week, 81% of those eligible for follow-up were reached and 19% were not reached. In total, since 21 June, 82% were reached and 18% were not reached.

Table 2: Number of people identified as close contacts, up to 4 July 2020
  Latest week 28 June to 4 July 2020 Cumulative total 21 June to 4 July 2020
Eligible for follow-up by local contract tracing teams 540 1,156
Not eligible for follow-up by local contact tracing teams 47 92
Total  587 1,248

Source: NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS)

These figures relate to all close contacts identified in the reporting period shown. Some may have been identified by positive cases referred to the contact tracing system prior to the reporting period. The figures may also include some close contacts eligible for follow-up by local contact tracing teams that were identified by positive cases escalated to regional teams for onward management.

The chart shows that, over the latest week, 85% of close contacts eligible for follow-up were successfully contacted and advised and 15% were not. In total, since 21 June, 87% were successfully contacted and advised and 13% were not.

3. Data for 1 to 21 June 2020

Early reporting, covering the first three weeks of contact tracing in Wales, was based on data reported by local and regional contact tracing teams prior to the introduction of the national digital system.

In Wales, during the period from 1 to 21 June 2020, 1,905 positive cases were referred to local and regional contact tracing teams. This resulted in 2,616 contacts identified for follow-up, of which 2,117 have been successfully contacted and advised accordingly.

There will be a small amount of overlap in the reporting from the national digital system and the early reporting provided by local and regional contact tracing teams. For this reason we would not recommend combining figures from the two different reporting streams. Cumulative reporting in future versions of this release will focus on data from 21 June 2020.

4. Quality and methodology information

This data is management information provided to the Welsh Government by the NHS Wales Informatics Service. We are publishing this to provide a weekly summary of contact tracing activity in Wales during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This data has not undergone the same level of quality assurance as official statistics and the data may be subject to future revisions.

Data has been extracted from the national digital contact tracing system during an early stage of its implementation. Some activity is not currently recorded consistently across different regions and therefore will not be captured in the figures presented here. We will continue to review the presentation and coverage of the data presented in this release as data quality improves.

Data included in this release was extracted from the contact tracing system at 10:00am on 7 July 2020. This extract was taken 3 days after the end of the reporting period in order to capture follow-up activity relating to cases referred towards the end of the reporting period.

Close contacts cases 'otherwise resolved' covers a small number of instances where the same contact is identified by multiple positive cases concurrently. On these occasions, contact tracing teams will work from a single record relating to that contact and mark the additional records as resolved.

The number of cases referred for contact tracing is different to the number of new cases published by Public Health Wales due to differences in timing and the level of validation carried out. Raw data from the laboratory testing system is fed into the contact tracing system that can, for example, include previously identified positive cases. Public Health Wales provides data for surveillance purposes and uses data from a fixed time cycle for consistency of reporting and also validates the data to remove previously identified cases. We are carrying out further work to understand and explain these differences.

National Statistics status

These statistics are not National Statistics. However, as far as has been practicable, they have been collected and validated in accordance with the pillars and principles within the Code of Practice for Statistics. We continue to develop the data collection and quality assurance process to improve the data.

These statistics have been produced quickly in response to developing world events.

Well-being of Future Generations Act

The Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales. The Act puts in place seven wellbeing goals for Wales. These are for a more equal, prosperous, resilient, healthier and globally responsible Wales, with cohesive communities and a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. Under section (10)(1) of the Act, the Welsh Ministers must (a) publish indicators ('national indicators') that must be applied for the purpose of measuring progress towards the achievement of the wellbeing goals, and (b) lay a copy of the national indicators before the National Assembly. The 46 national indicators were laid in March 2016.

Information on the indicators, along with narratives for each of the well-being goals and associated technical information is available in the Well-being of Wales report.

Further information on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The statistics included in this release could also provide supporting narrative to the national indicators and be used by public services boards in relation to their local well-being assessments and local wellbeing plans.

Next update

This is currently a weekly statistical release. It will be published at 09:30am every Thursday. We will review the frequency in line with changing user need.

The next release will be on Thursday 16 July.

We want your feedback

We welcome any feedback on any aspect of these statistics which can be provided by email to kas.covid19@gov.wales.

Further information

For information and advice on contact tracing please refer to our Test, trace, protect: coronavirus guidance page.

5. Contact details

Statistician: Jon Ackland (for queries about the data)
Telephone: 0300 025 8067
Email: kas.covid19@gov.wales

Media: 0300 025 8099

SFR 79/2020

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