The number of people testing positive during the first week of October increased by more than 35,000 compared with the previous week, with the number of tests processed during the week increasing by more than 65,000 to 1,671,766 (pillars 1 and 2), latest figures show.
Testing capacity (pillars 1 and 2) for the 19th week of operation increased by nearly 10% from the previous week and with more than 500 testing sites now open across the UK, the median distance being travelled for in-person tests has dropped for the third consecutive week, now down to just 3.3 miles.
NHS Test and Trace continued to reach the vast majority of positive cases and their contacts, with a total of 901,151 people having been reached by the service since it was started. The first week of October saw the service successfully reach 76.8% of people who tested positive and 76.9% of contacts where communications details were provided. Since NHS Test and Trace launched, 84% of all contacts where communication details were given have been reached and told to self-isolate.
The weekly statistics from the 19th week of NHS Test and Trace show in the most recent week of operations (1 to 7 October):
- a total of 1,671,766 tests were processed (pillars 1 and 2), a 10% increase from the previous week
- 76.8% of people who tested positive and were transferred to the contact tracing system were reached and asked to provide information about their contacts, compared with 74.9% the previous week
- 76.9% of contacts where communication details were given were reached and told to self-isolate, compared with 82.8% the previous week
- 67.9% of in-person test results were received the next day after the test was taken, compared with 65.4% the previous week
- 32.6% of in-person test results were received within 24 hours after the test was taken, compared with 27.4% the previous week
As of today, 100 Local Tracing Partnerships are now in operation, as part of ongoing collaboration between national and local teams to ensure that people who test positive, and their contacts, are successfully reached by contact tracers. The model means local authorities can use their expertise and resources to increase the proportion of people reached by NHS Test and Trace. Local authorities will work with local contact tracing teams to obtain details of recent close contacts, explain the importance of self-isolation for those who test positive and other members of their household, and help ensure they have access to appropriate support.
The NHS COVID-19 app has now been downloaded more than 16,500,000 times, with more than 640,000 QR posters downloaded. New updates to the app this week include the addition of Polish and Somali, bringing the total number of languages the app is now available in to 12.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said:
The country is working together at unprecedented pace and scale to increase capacity and make sure everyone who should have a test can get one.
Since the service launched, NHS Test and Trace has now reached over 900,000 people, and 8.3 million people have been tested at least once. This is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved in the system, of which they should be rightly proud.
Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding said:
Local authorities play a hugely important role in delivering test and trace services and supporting their communities through outbreaks. Across the UK, we are working together to ensure excellent and timely local delivery of testing and contact tracing, alongside a robust national network.
We’re continuing to drive forward local contact tracing as part of our commitment to being locally led, with more than 100 Local Tracing Partnerships now operating, and more to come. Local public health teams are vital to our work, using their knowledge of their local areas to support communities.
I want to thank staff across the whole NHS Test and Trace programme for all of their efforts. From the staff who help people receive tests at one of our 500 test sites, to the lab technicians processing those tests, to the local contact tracers who support and advise those who receive a positive test and their contacts. We’ve always said that we do not operate alone, and the integrated, localised approach that we continue to develop with local authorities means that we can reach more people in their communities, making us even more effective in tackling the virus.
Professor Isabel Oliver, National Infection Service Director at Public Health England, said:
In the past week, NHS Test and Trace has seen a 155% increase in total number of cases and a 127% increase in number of contacts. It’s critical that contact tracing continues to reach as many people as possible and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the national and local teams across the country.
This fast growing number of local tracing partnerships will give us better insights on where transmission of infection is occurring. It will also help us ensure we contact as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Beating COVID-19 involves everyone working together and we hope in future many more local authorities will join this vital work.