Coronavirus: Latest NHS Test and Trace stats show the service continues to break chains of transmission

Statistics from the ninth week (23 to 29 July) of operation of NHS Test and Trace published today show the service is consistently reaching the majority of those testing positive and their contacts, and delivering rapid testing at scale.

More than 79% of people who have tested positive were reached and asked for their contacts, with NHS Test and Trace reaching 82% of their close contacts where communication details were provided. This means that more than a quarter of a million people at risk of passing the virus on have now been reached and asked to self-isolate. 199,524 of these were people who had been in close contact with someone who’d tested positive and therefore without NHS Test and Trace would most likely have not known they were at risk of spreading the virus.  

Over 3 million people have been newly tested for coronavirus since NHS Test and Trace launched and over 97% of people who were tested at mobile testing units, and walk-through and drive-through testing last week got their results back the next day.

As part of NHS Test and Trace’s role working with local leaders and public health experts to manage outbreaks, dedicated teams of contact tracers have been deployed to areas experiencing a spike in cases to provide additional tailored support, working in partnership with local teams on the ground. These teams are currently operating in Leicester and Blackburn with Darwen, with both telephone contact tracers and in-person health protection teams working together to reach as many cases as possible.

The same approach will be rolled out further across England where increases in cases are seen, as outlined in the Covid-19 contain framework published to guide local action in response to the virus. The framework sets out how local authorities can access enhanced testing and tracing support at a local level.

Public health teams across the country are routinely using data from Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to identify where the virus is present at a local level, with a particular focus on the protection of complex settings such as hospitals and care homes. It is this data that is enabling local teams to take further targeted contact tracing action too.

Increased testing in areas of high prevalence also continues to be rolled out, including additional mobile testing units and home testing kits.

Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, Baroness Dido Harding said:

“NHS Test and Trace is working. It has already helped to prevent almost a quarter of a million people unknowingly spreading the virus. But we do not work alone.  Close partnerships with local government and local public health teams are essential to stop the spread of the virus, and NHS Test and Trace continues to work hand-in-hand to support communities experiencing spikes in cases, through increased testing and additional contact tracing.

“Winter may seem far away but it’s what we do right now that counts. So please do play your part to stop the virus from flaring up again – this system will only work if you come forward for a test and help us to trace your contacts. So if you have symptoms, however mild, get a free test immediately. If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, follow the advice you receive. This is how, together, we’ll get back to the things we love.”

Data from the ninth week of operation (23 to 29 July) of NHS Test and Trace shows that:

  1. 79.4% (3,688) of the people who had tested positive for coronavirus and were transferred to NHS Test and Trace were reached by our contact tracers and asked to share details of their close contacts. This compares to 82.2% in the previous week.
  2. 72.4% (13,866) of close contacts were reached and advised to self-isolate. This compares to 76.2% in the previous week. Where contact details were provided, NHS Test and Trace reached 82.4%. This compares to 84.8% in the previous week.

In total, since 28 May 2020:

  1. 48,157 people have newly tested positive for coronavirus in England during this period, with 47,762 transferred for contact tracing – including some people testing positive before contact tracing began
  2. 78.0% (37,231) of the people who tested positive for coronavirus and were transferred to NHS Test and Trace were reached by our contact tracers and asked to share details of their close contacts.
  3. 82.2% (199,524) of close contacts were reached and advised to self-isolate. Where contact details were provided, 89.6% were reached.


Testing statistics for the ninth week of operation (23 – 29 July) NHS Test and Trace shows that:

1.    390,242  people were newly tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) under Pillar 1 (testing in hospitals and outbreak locations) and Pillar 2 (national swab testing) in England.

2.     Test results for 91.1% of people tested under Pillar 1 were made available within 24 hours of the laboratory receiving the test for processing.

3.     In person testing at mobile testing units, and walk-through and drive-through testing sites returned 97.2% of results the next day after the test was taken.

As the pandemic has evolved, more and more detailed data shared with local areas has shown that different areas of England are experiencing different levels of transmission. Local led action to address these breakouts is vital, and both local and national government have been working hard together to break the chains of transmission.

Local authorities were given £300 million of funding to develop local outbreak control plans with NHS Test and Trace, to help identify and prepare for spikes in cases in their areas.

The new public health campaign – Let’s Get Back – launched last week will continues to increase public awareness of how NHS Test and Trace is supporting a return to the activities people enjoy. Anyone with symptoms of the virus, however mild, is urged to get a free test immediately to help protect those around them from the virus.

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