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The data are taken from management information and are subject to change. They have not been not been subject to the same validation processes undertaken for official statistics releases. We are publishing these data to provide a weekly summary of testing activity in Wales, including tests on critical workers, residents and the timeliness of tests. This statistical release is evolving and we appreciate feedback to improve the content.

Accompanying tables for this release are available separately, including all the data shown in this release and historical data.

1. National headline figures

Main results

  • Lab capacity in NHS Wales labs was 15,157 as at 2 August 2020. This does not include capacity at UK labs where some Welsh residents’ samples are processed.
  • As at 1pm on 2 August 2020, there have been 405,449 tests authorised for Welsh residents.
  • There have been a total of 250,304 tests performed on critical workers and residents in Wales.
  • In the latest week, less than a third of samples collected from mass testing centres or community testing units and processed in NHS Wales labs were authorised within one day. However, a large proportion of these are tests carried out in care homes and involve a longer process with tests delivered to care homes and then onto labs via courier.
  • In the latest week, all samples collected from mass testing centres and processed in non-NHS Wales labs were authorised within two days.
  • By the end of 2 August 2020, 63,440 antibody tests have been authorised for Welsh residents processed through NHS Wales laboratories with 6,601 positive results.

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

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Chart on the number of tests authorised for Welsh residents at the end of 2 August 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 2 August 2020 (MS Excel)

Data for 2 August 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. Chart 1 shows the number of tests authorised in both NHS Wales and non-NHS Wales laboratories.

  • 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 25 July, where 7,609 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.

2. Turnaround times

The figures shown are measured from the date a sample is recorded as being collected to the time 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 by testing route, as this will have an impact on the time taken to complete the test processing. Home tests need to be posted and couriered to lab. Care homes may complete batches of tests across different staff shifts before returning the tests by courier. These methods can have an impact on the turnaround time of the test. Care home tests processed by NHS Wales labs are included in the mass testing centre and community testing unit figures.

We are currently working towards reporting all tests carried out in care homes separately from the mass testing centre and community testing unit figures in next week’s release (12 August).

Previously the majority of samples collected at mass testing centres were processed in NHS Wales laboratories, however, a number of these centres now use the non-NHS Wales laboratories (known as lighthouse laboratories). 

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

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Chart on the proportion of tests authorised from NHS Wales laboratories within one, two and three days as at end 2 August 2020.	Of all tests authorised from NHS Wales laboratories 67% returned within two days in community testing units compared to 97% in hospitals.

Proportion of tests authorised from NHS Wales laboratories within one, two and three days as at end 2 August 2020 (MS Excel)

Since testing began up until the end of 2 August 2020:

  • There have been 127,509 tests authorised at community testing units, with 39% authorised within one day and 67% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 78,743 tests authorised at hospital, with 73% authorised within one day and 94% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 72,420 tests authorised at mass testing centres, with 42% authorised within one day and 85% of results authorised within two days.

In the latest week (commencing 27 July 2020):

  • There have been 10,607 tests authorised at community testing units, with 32% authorised within one day and 46% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 4,853 tests authorised at hospital, with 83% authorised within one day and 97% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 4,603 tests authorised at mass testing centres, with 32% authorised within one day and 85% of results authorised within two days.

Tests carried out in care homes which are authorised in NHS Wales laboratories are included in the figures for mass testing centres and community testing units. These type of tests are known as satellite tests, where the sample is collected away from a testing centre. Once the sample has been collected a courier is requested to collect the samples and deliver to a lab for processing. Care homes may complete batches of tests across different staff shifts before returning the tests by courier. These methods can have an impact on the turnaround time of the test with a large number of tests included in these categories being from care homes.

Previous week’s turnaround times are included in the accompanying data tables.

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Chart on the proportion of tests authorised from non-NHS Wales laboratories within one, two and three days as at end 2 August 2020. 88% of care home tests were returned within two days, 78% of home tests were returned in two days and 98% 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 2 August 2020 (MS Excel)

Since testing began up until the end of 2 August 2020:

  • There have been 80,820 care home portal tests authorised with 51% authorised within one day and 88% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 34,225 home tests authorised, with 33% authorised within one day and 78% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 20,567 tests authorised from mass testing centres processed in non-NHS Wales laboratories, with 95% authorised within one day and 98% of results authorised within two days.

In the latest week (commencing 27 July 2020):

  • There have been 13,806 care home portal tests authorised with 53% authorised within one day and 77% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 3,033 home tests authorised, with 50% authorised within one day and 88% of results authorised within two days.
  • There have been 4,549 tests authorised from regional testing centres processed in non-NHS Wales laboratories, with 98% authorised within one day and 100% of results authorised within two days.

3. Critical workers and residents

Table 1: Total number of swab tests and results for critical workers and residents as at end 2 August 2020
Category Total positive tests Total negative tests Total number of tests
Key worker: care home 1,352 86,050 87,402
Key worker: education 23 836 859
Key worker: emergency 149 1,001 1,150
Key worker: healthcare 6,384 24,341 30,725
Key worker: hostel or supported living 16 829 845
Key worker: other or unknown 500 5,273 5,773
Keyworker: prison or detention centre 25 129 154
Resident: care home 1,333 37,160 38,493
Resident: education 1 250 251
Resident: hostel or supported living 67 2,464 2,531
Resident: other or unknown 102 574 676
Resident: prison or detention centre 2 29 31
Resident or key worker: care home 110 80,710 80,820
Resident or key worker: education 2 10 12
Resident or key worker: hostel or supported living 11 25 36
Resident or key worker: prison or detention centre 109 437 546

Source: Public Health Wales

Table 1 shows the number of tests authorised for critical workers and residents in Wales authorised in NHS Wales and non-NHS Wales laboratories.

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 83% 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.

It is possible to distinguish between key workers and residents for tests authorised in NHS Wales laboratories, however, it is not possible to do this for tests authorised in non-NHS Wales laboratories. For tests authorised in non-NHS Wales laboratories the location has been used to identify key workers and residents. For example, tests authorised in non-NHS Wales laboratories from samples collected at a care home are included in the Resident or key worker: care home category in Table 1.

Table 2: Total number of antibody tests and results for critical workers and residents as at end 26 July 2020
Category Positive results Negative results Equivocal results Number of tests
Key worker or resident: care home 38 122 9 169
Key worker or resident: education 1,035 17,989 685 19,709
Key worker: emergency 58 321 6 385
Key worker: healthcare 4,512 30,960 444 35,916
Key worker or resident: other or unknown 14 247 6 267
Key worker or resident: prison or detention centre * * * 14
Resident: hostel or supported living * * * *
Household member of keyworker * * * 6
Not specified 942 5,960 71 6,973

* The data item is suppressed to avoid disclosure.

Source: Public Health Wales and NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS)

Table 2 shows the number of antibody tests authorised in NHS Wales laboratories and lateral flow tests.

Since testing began up until the end of 2 August 2020 there have been 19,709 antibody tests for key workers or residents in education and 35,916 antibody tests for healthcare key workers. This reflects the current sampling strategy of prioritising antibody testing for these key workers and residents. These data include 9,772 lateral flow tests.

The number of tests and results reflect a snapshot in time and will be greatly influenced by the sampling strategy at that moment in time. Currently antibody testing is only available to priority groups, more information is available in the Antibody testing: coronavirus (COVID-19) pages of our website.

If an antibody test is equivocal, it means that the result is inconclusive.

4. Background

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

From 13 July, Public Health Wales have combined tests and results processed in NHS Wales laboratories and non-NHS Wales laboratories, which were previously reported separately. Chart 1 and Table 1 include tests processed for Welsh residents through both NHS Wales laboratories and non-NHS Wales laboratories (Lighthouse Labs). Chart 2 shows only tests authorised at NHS Wales laboratories and Chart 3 only shows tests authorised through non-NHS Wales laboratories. Table 2 shows antibody tests authorised through NHS Wales laboratories and lateral flow tests.

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.

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 2 August unless otherwise stated.

5. 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.

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.

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 Wednesday 12 August.

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.

6. Contact details

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

Media: 0300 025 8099

SFR 104/2020

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