England’s 12 12 billion test and trace system is “fighting to isolate the epidemic”, an expert says, after close contact with Covid-19, a new low for test results and a further reduction in waiting time to almost double the target.
In the week ended October 14, intimate contact reached 59.6%, up 62.6% from the previous week’s figures, the lowest since the start of test-trace operations at the end of May.
Age Shi said in May that at least 60% of communications must reach the government’s “world-beating” system in order to be effective. Sage, whose documents were released last week, described his success as “marginal”.
In fact, the actual proportion of Kovid patients in contact is still low: the latest report reveals that 101,994 people tested positive but only 99,522 were transferred to the communication-tracing system, of which only 60% were approached and asked to provide information about them. Communication meant that, overall, only 46% reached close acquaintances.
The latest performance figures released on Thursday also show that Boris Johnson promised to return all test results in person within 24 hours.
The median time to get test results at regional sites has increased to 45 hours, from 28 the previous week. Local test site result times increased from 29 to 47 hours and mobile test units increased from 26 to 41 hours.
James Nayesith, a professor of structural biology at Oxford University, commented on the figures:[They] Show a system that fights to make a difference in the epidemic … The current system indicates that none of the contacts of about two-thirds of the infected people are found. Of the given contacts, about 60% have reached.
“More than 70 per cent of those approached have positive cases in the same home, so the need for a tracing system was less likely. In fact, only half of all identified contacts arrive within 24 hours.
“These figures are an in-depth demonstration of what Sage decided and we can see with our own eyes: the system has given the bird’s eye view of the epidemic and has done very little to stop it.” He suggested that the test and trace system could also be out of repair.
In cases administered by local health care teams, 99.7% were reported to be self-isolated by reaching out to contact, but 57.6% were reported to be self-disconnected online or in call centers.
People with disappointing performance statistics increased the test.1% positive test ratio, although this may be a more targeted test result. The positive rate was 6.3% in the previous week and 0.9% in the week ended August 26. The World Health Organization has advised the government to keep it below 5% for at least two weeks before considering relaxation restrictions.
Saffron Cordary, deputy chief executive of NHS providers, said the system was “declining”, adding: “The most worrying thing is the failure of more than a million close communications this week. With the possibility of growth.
Only 7.4% of the results from all test sites were obtained within 24 weeks, compared to 14.8% earlier.
For individual testing – local test sites, mobile test units and regional test sites – 15.1% received 32.8% of the previous week in 24 hours and 94.3% at the end of June.
For satellite test centers – private labs help increase testing capacity for hospitals and care homes – 22.3% results were obtained within 48 hours, up slightly from 21.1% for the week ending October-October
Kevin McConnell, Professor Emeritus of Open University Applied Statistics, says: “Increasing the duration of testing and tracing inevitably implies that potentially contagious and already self-isolated, more people are roaming around, infecting potential people, perhaps unaware that they are at higher risk of becoming infected. That’s not really enough. “
Dido Harding, interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Reducing turnaround time is our top priority to ensure we reach people as quickly as possible. We need to ensure that test results can be delivered as soon as possible as well as get a test, and as capacity continues to grow at such a pace, we hope to see improvement. “