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1. National headline figures

Main results

  • Lab capacity in NHS Wales labs was 15,157 as at 19 July 2020. This does not include capacity at UK labs where some Welsh residents’ samples are processed.
  • As at 1pm on 19 July 2020, there have been 325,910 tests authorised for Welsh residents.
  • There have been a total of 199,064 tests performed on critical workers and residents in Wales.
  • For samples processed in NHS Wales laboratories in the latest week, 48.6% of tests authorised in community testing units were authorised in two days compared to 83.0% in regional testing centres and 96.4% in hospitals.
  • For samples processed in non-NHS Wales laboratories in the latest week, 82.6% of care home tests ordered through the care home portal were authorised within two days compared to 86.5% of home tests and 99.9% in regional testing centres.
  • By the end of 19 July 2020, 38,313 antibody tests have been authorised for Welsh residents processed through NHS Wales laboratories with 4,315 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 for Welsh residents at the end of 19 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 at the end of 19 July 2020 (MS Excel)

Data for 19 July only includes results authorised up to 1pm.

Public Health Wales have finalised their work to bring together tests authorised in non-NHS Wales (Lighthouse Labs) with NHS Wales laboratory processed tests.

  • 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 10 July, where 7,270 tests authorised in NHS Wales and non-NHS Wales laboratories.
  • 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.

Due to a technical issue with the UK platform a number of tests and positive cases from Lighthouse laboratories (non-NHS Wales laboratories) were not loaded into national systems with over 7,000 tests not included between Wednesday afternoon and Friday evening. This processing issue has now been resolved and the backlog of testing data has been loaded into systems with 12,295 new authorised tests reported on 19 July (for the 24 hours to 1pm on 18 July) published in the annex of the accompanying data tables. These show the number of new tests reported by Public Health Wales in a 24 hour period and do not represent the number of tests that were authorised during that period, a more accurate reflection of authorised tests by authorised date can be seen in Chart 1 in this release and Table 1 in the accompanying data tables.

Table 1: Total number of tests and results for critical workers and residents as at end 19 July 2020
Category Total positive tests Total negative tests Total number of tests
Keyworker: care home 1,331 69,262 70,593
Keyworker: education 23 789 812
Keyworker: emergency 149 974 1,123
Keyworker: healthcare 6,348 23,181 29,529
Keyworker: hostel or supported living 16 703 719
Keyworker: other or unknown 499 4,882 5,381
Keyworker: prison or detention centre 25 124 149
Resident: care home 1,273 33,587 34,860
Resident: education 1 154 155
Resident: hostel or supported living 54 1,917 1,971
Resident: other or unknown 102 574 676
Resident: prison or detention centre 2 25 27
Resident or keyworker: care home 61 52,436 52,497
Resident or keyworker: education 2 10 12
Resident or keyworker: hostel or supported living 11 25 36
Resident or keyworker: prison or detention centre 109 415 524

Source: Public Health Wales

Public Health Wales are currently undertaking improvements to the critical worker and resident category in their data. This has led to revisions in the data and different categories being used compared to previous publications.

  • Around 79% of all tests for critical workers were performed on care home residents or care home workers.
  • 21% of tests conducted for healthcare workers identified positive results.

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. It is currently not possible to distinguish between key worker and residents for samples processed in non-NHS Wales laboratories and have been included together in the table.

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 70% returned within two days in community testing units compared to 94% in hospitals.

Proportion of tests authorised from NHS Wales laboratories within one, two and three days as at end 19 July 2020 (MS Excel)

Since testing began up until the end of 19 July 2020:

  • There have been 108,065 tests authorised at coronavirus testing units, with 70% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 73,487 tests authorised at hospital, with 94% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 59,269 tests authorised at regional testing centres, with 82% 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.  It does not indicate how long it takes for an individual to receive their result from point of testing.

Data on the time taken to receive a COVID-19 test result is split up to show the different routes for getting tested, as this will have an impact upon the time taken.

Chart on the proportion of tests authorised from non-NHS Wales laboratories within one, two and three days as at end 19 July 2020. 92.4% of care home tests were returned within two days, 76.3% of home tests were returned in two days and 97.6% of tests from regional testing centres were returned in two days.

Proportion of tests authorised from non-NHS Wales laboratories within one, two and three days as at end 19 July 2020 (MS Excel)

Since testing began up until the end of 19 July 2020:

  • There have been 52,497 care home portal tests authorised with 92% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 28,588 home tests authorised, with 76% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 12,551 tests authorised from regional testing centres processed in non-NHS Wales laboratories, with 97% 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.  It does not indicate how long it takes for an individual to receive their result from point of testing.

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 19 July unless otherwise stated.

3. Quality and methodology information

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 28 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 90/2020

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