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1. National headline figures

  • Lab capacity in NHS Wales labs was 15,157 as at 12 July 2020. This does not include capacity at UK labs where some Welsh residents’ samples are processed.
  • As at 1pm on 12 July 2020, there have been 218,653 tests authorised by NHS Wales laboratories.
  • As at 7pm on 12 July 2020, there have been 78,667 tests authorised by non-NHS Wales laboratories for samples from Welsh residents.
  • There have been a total of 97,075 tests performed on critical workers in Wales which have been processed in NHS Wales laboratories.
  • At the end of 12 July 2020, 50.8% of results were returned within a day and 81.8% of results were returned within two days.
  • In the latest week, 46.5% of test results authorised in NHS Wales laboratories were returned within a day and 66.3% within two days.
  • By the end of 12 July 2020, 31,839 antibody tests have been authorised for Welsh residents processed through NHS Wales laboratories with 3,667 positive results.

Currently antibody testing is only available to priority groups with further explanation provided on our policy pages: Antibody testing: coronavirus (COVID-19).

Chart on the number of tests authorised in NHS Wales laboratories at the end of 11 July 2020. The number of tests authorised in NHS Wales laboratories has been on the rise since the middle of May until the start of June where there have been small fluctuations since.

Total number of tests authorised in NHS Wales laboratories at the end of 11 July 2020 (MS Excel)

Data for 12 July only includes results authorised up to 1pm, these have been excluded from the chart but included in the total figures under main points.

  • The number of tests authorised in NHS Wales laboratories had been on the rise until the start of June where there was a small decrease and the number of tests broadly levelling off.
  • The highest number of tests authorised in a single calendar day was on 5 June, where 4,056 tests authorised in NHS Wales laboratories.

Chart on the number of tests authorised in non-NHS Wales laboratories by sample processed date to end of 11 July 2020. The number of tests processed in non- NHS Wales laboratories has been on the rise since the middle of May, which coincides with the roll out of home testing in Wales. There has been an increase in tests due to the roll out of the care home portal.

Number of tests authorised in non-NHS Wales laboratories by sample processed date at end of 11 July 2020 (MS Excel)

Data for 12 July only includes samples processed up to 7pm, these have been excluded due to the lag in testing samples and reporting results.

  • These figures include tests processed through labs outside NHS Wales, which includes tests for Welsh residents taken at testing centres in England, some testing centres in Wales, tests ordered through the care home portal and home testing kits.
  • The first sample processed by a non-NHS Wales laboratory for a Welsh resident was on 24 April. Testing increased with the roll out of home testing on 18 May.
  • Tests processed through non-NHS Wales laboratories began to increase towards the end of June. This is largely due to Welsh residents beginning to book tests through the newly available care home portal.
Table 1: Total number of tests and results for critical workers processed in NHS Wales laboratories as at end 12 July 2020
Category Total positive tests Total negative tests Total number of tests
Healthcare worker 6,330 22,100 28,430
Care home resident 1,257 27,506 28,763
Care home worker 1,328 59,136 60,464
Educational institution worker / resident 25 793 818
Emergency services worker 157 976 1,133
Hostel or supported worker / resident 49 1,216 1,265
Household member of essential worker 387 3,939 4,326
Prison or detention centre worker / resident 42 162 204
Other essential worker 511 5,031 5,542

Source: Public Health Wales

  • Just under 68% of all tests for critical workers were performed on care home residents or care home workers.
  • 23% of tests conducted for healthcare workers and processed in NHS Wales laboratories identified positive results.
  • Since the care home portal was operational from the end of June, the majority of tests for care homes were processed through non-NHS Wales laboratories, which are not included in the above table.

The number of tests recorded for critical workers is dependent on the critical worker category being recorded in the system when the sample was taken. This as well as an increasing number of samples processed by non-NHS Wales laboratories could have an impact on the above table.

The increase in care home workers this week reflects improvements made by Public Health Wales in more accurately identifying key workers in tests over the last few weeks. The tests on these workers were conducted over a number of weeks, not just in the most recent week.

Chart on the proportion of tests authorised from NHS Wales laboratories within one, two and three days as at end 12 July 2020. Of all tests authorised from NHS Wales laboratories, 82% were returned within two days. This varies across centre type with 71% returned within two days in coronavirus testing units compared to 93% in hospitals.

Proportion of tests authorised from NHS Wales laboratories within one, two and three days as at end 12 July 2020 (MS Excel)

Since testing began up until the end of 12 July 2020:

  • There have been 96,636 tests authorised at coronavirus testing units, with 72% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 66,321 tests authorised at hospital, with 93% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 51,429 tests authorised at regional testing centre, with 85% of results authorised within two days.

The results performance shown is a measure from the date a sample is recorded as being collected to the time that the result is authorised in the central Public Health Wales laboratories.  It does not indicate how long it takes for an individual to receive their result from point of testing.

These data do not include tests authorised at non-NHS Wales laboratories. An increasing number of samples collected at regional testing centres are processed in non-NHS Wales laboratories which are currently not included in this data.

2. Background

We are publishing these data to provide a weekly summary of testing activity in Wales, including tests on critical workers and the timeliness of tests.

The majority of data presented here are based on the tests processed and authorised in NHS Wales laboratories on Welsh residents. This includes data on critical workers and timeliness of tests.

We have also provided data on the number and results of tests processed by non-NHS Wales on Welsh residents as part of the UK wide system. Public Health Wales is currently undertaking work to review this data and determine how this links with the existing data from tests undertaken in NHS laboratories in Wales. Whilst this work is ongoing, these figures have not been combined.

The data in this release is based on a mixture of dates at different stages of the testing process, such as specimen date, processing date and authorised data. Each table in the Open Data spreadsheet details the reporting timeframe.

Our data explainer titled Understanding data on coronavirus (COVID-19) testing provides further explanation on the data used including the difference in dates and data sources.

Antibody testing has been included for the first time in this release. COVID-19 antibody tests are used to find out whether a person has previously had the virus. The antibody test works by taking a blood sample and testing for the presence of antibodies. Antibodies are produced by the body in response to an infection and can usually be found in the blood after around 2 weeks following infection.

Antibody testing is only available to priority groups at the moment with testing prioritised for a sample of school staff who have previously worked in education hubs and healthcare workers. Further explanation of antibody testing in Wales can be found on our policy pages: Antibody testing: coronavirus (COVID-19).

Data included in this release is correct at 23:59 on 12 July unless otherwise stated.

3. Quality and methodology information

Context

The data is management information which has been collected to support testing operations. We’re publishing these data to provide a timely summary of testing activity but has not undergone the same level of quality assurance as official statistics, with the data subject to future revisions. This weekly summary of COVID-19 testing information from the Public Health Wales (PHW) daily surveillance dashboard, plus further detail on the number of tests on critical workers and the location that the test sample was collected. Additionally, data on the number of tests processed in non-NHS Wales laboratories provided by NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) is included in this summary.

This information helps to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and contribute to Wales monitoring and decision-making.

Relevance

Public Health Wales analyse patient testing data from WLIMS as part of their disease surveillance responsibilities. In addition, these statistics are used daily for a number of other purposes:

  • to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • to support evidence-based advice on future decisions around reviews of lockdown arrangements
  • contributions to Wales and UK wide monitoring and decision-making

Accuracy

Public Health Wales Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre is responsible for carrying out surveillance of respiratory infections in Wales including the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Clinical data is stored in the Welsh Laboratory Information System (WLIMS), this includes COVID-19 testing data. The data is accessed and cleansed by Public Health Wales analysts, this includes removing duplicate positive cases prior to publishing the data on their daily surveillance dashboard. The data is revised on a daily basis and is classed as provisional subject to future revision.

Different test dates have been used when reporting test data depending on the nature of the data and the use. For rapid surveillance data the authorised test date has been used and is included in the headline figures presented by Public Health Wales, whereas for detailed surveillance over time the specimen date has been used.

Tests which have been authorised through non-NHS Wales laboratories on Welsh residents have been included in this summary. This includes samples from Welsh residents from COVID-19 drive-through testing centres in the UK and home testing kits. The dataset is presented as the number of tests and may include repeat tests for individuals. Some results are classed as indeterminate, which means that the laboratory could not obtain a valid result from the swab sample and so were unable to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 virus was present. This may occur because of a number of technical reasons.  Following an indeterminate result, it is recommended that the individual be retested.

Public Health Wales is currently undertaking work to review this data and determine how this links with the existing data from tests undertaken in NHS laboratories in Wales. Whilst this work is ongoing, these figures have not been incorporated together or into the headline number of cases in the Public Health Wales daily surveillance dashboard.

Further information can be found in our data explainer: Understanding data on coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

Timeliness and punctuality

The data in this release provides data from the 18 March 2020 and onwards.

Accessibility and clarity

This statistical release has been pre-announced and then published on the Statistics and Research section of our website. It is accompanied by an Open Document Spreadsheet to allow users to have direct access to the data that underlies the charts in this release.

Comparability

Public Health Wales produce a daily surveillance dashboard where users can access the most up to date information on the number of tests authorised, individuals tested (testing episodes) and positive cases.

Data for England is published on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK pages of the GOV.UK website.

Data for Scotland is published on the Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland pages of the GOV.SCOT website.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) also publish daily information on tests and positive cases.

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 12.30pm every Tuesday. We will review the frequency in line with changing user need.

The next release will be on Tuesday 21 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

4. Contact details

Statistician: Matthew Curds
Telephone: 0300 062 8544
Email: kas.covid19@gov.wales

Media: 0300 025 8099

SFR 84/2020

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