Coronavirus: Test and trace figures show positive cases up almost three times on end of August | UK News

The number of people who tested positive for coronavirus in England is almost three times as high as it was at the end of August, official data shows.

The new numbers from the NHS Test and Trace System show that 19,278 new people tested positive between September 10 and 16.

According to statistics from NHS Test and Trace, there has been a significant increase of 180% in positive cases since the end of August.

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The number of cases is now double what it was when the system was launched in late May.

However, the program is also showing signs of difficulty with longer turnaround times for personal swab testing.

Only 28.2% of personal test results were received within 24 hours, compared to 33.3% in the previous week, although the number of tests performed was similar.

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This means that less than one in three people tested at a regional location, local location, or mobile testing facility will receive their results during this time period.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised that the results of all personal tests would be available within 24 hours by the end of June.

He told the House of Commons on June 3 that he would "have all tests reversed within 24 hours by the end of June, with the exception of difficulties with postal tests or such insurmountable problems".

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The number of people transferred to the contact tracking system – 21,268 – increased 37% from the previous week, continuing the strong upward trend seen since early August.

The proportion of these people reached through tracing decreased slightly, 77.7% from 83.8% the previous week.

The numbers show that 77,556 people came into close contact with someone who tested positive, an increase of 16%. Of these, 74.7% were contacted and asked to self-isolate.

This is a drop of 75.9% in the previous week and below the 77.2% in the week ended August 19.

The number of positive cases between September 10 and 16 increased slightly by 3% compared to the previous week.

However, since the end of May, the number of tests performed has increased by 30%.

New data released Thursday by the Department of Health and Welfare also showed 402,782 close contacts from people who tested positive COVID-19 have been reached through the system since the Test and Trace program was started.

This is 77.8% of a total of 517,601 people who were identified as close contacts. The remaining 114,819 people (22.2%) were not reached.

Since launching May 28, more than 11% of people living in England have been tested at least once, the department said.

This includes regular retests of nursing home staff and residents, with the service sending more than 100,000 tests to nursing homes every day.

The government's goal is to reach 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Thursday the government is still on track to meet that goal.

Boris Johnson spoke about why people should follow the instructions of the NHS test and trace app launched on Thursday: "The key is that people follow the instructions.

"If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and learn that you have been in the presence of someone with coronavirus, we will support you to help you through the self-isolation period.

"You should do this because it is the best way to stop the virus from spreading. Now, remember that there are also fines for people who don't follow directions."

The upward trend in positive cases continues in the latest statistics for Test and Trace, which shows that 19,278 new people tested positive in England between September 10 and September 16.

Analysis: By Rowland Manthorpe, technology correspondent

The upward trend in positive cases continues in the latest statistics for Test and Trace, which shows that 19,278 new people tested positive in England between September 10 and September 16.

The previous week it was 18,371, an increase of 3% – which inevitably raises all sorts of questions.

Does a 3% increase mean the outbreak is flattening out? Does the fact that it comes after the big 167% jump last week shows that the breakout is still going in the wrong direction?

The truth is, it's hard to be sure, as the testing system's recent struggles mean this already noisy data is now cacophonic positive.

Looking at the overall trend alongside other data, it is clear that cases are on the rise: up 180% since late August. How soon and how far remains to be seen.

Of course, we test a lot more, which increases the number of cases, but you can explain this by seeing how many people test positive per test performed – a measure called the positivity rate.

This leads to a worrying result. In the previous week the rate was 0.97%. This week it's 1.78%. That's an 80% jump in a week.

Deaths and hospital stays have not yet increased in the UK, but they are increasing and in the last few days they have increased sharply in France. It is still possible for them to stabilize in the UK, but overall the signs are not encouraging.

One major caveat: any spike could be prevented by new measures like the rule of six, but its effects won't be felt in these numbers for some time. We look back here, not forward.

However, when it comes to measures to protect against the virus, these statistics also tell a grim story.

Speed ​​is of the essence in this crisis, but only 28.2% of personal test results were received within 24 hours, compared to 33.3% in the previous week.

In addition, it is becoming increasingly clear that Test and Trace in England cannot reach every contact.

This week's numbers show that 77.7% of those who tested positive met successfully – or, if you prefer, 22.3% missed it.

If you dig a little further into the data, you'll see that only 64.3% of the community contacts passed were reached.

With the outbreak spreading to the general population, the lack of three in ten contacts makes it difficult to be confident that England can prevent cases from clustering.

It is worth highlighting that these numbers are nowhere near as bad in absolute terms as anything the UK has seen during the crisis – and there is still so much left that we don't know how that second surge will play out.

But at first glance, these numbers offer little room for encouragement.

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