NHS Test and Trace is providing more tests, processing more tests, and successfully reaching more people than ever before, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
According to new data, 1,892,703 tests were processed during the week 15 to 21 October, an increase of 163,138 compared with the previous week, and the highest number to date. With more than 600 test sites already in operation across the UK, and up to 40 new test sites opening every week, the median distance people are now travelling to a test centre is just 2.8 miles.
‘As the number of cases rise, we are seeing NHS Test and Trace processing more tests and reaching more people than ever before,’ said Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding.
‘We are expanding the reach of our service and improving performance in key areas such as turnaround times for tests as we continue to increase capacity, but we recognise there is more to be done. We are working hard to meet these increased demands whilst improving the service we offer to the public.’
The rate of COVID-19 infections is rising rapidly across the UK. The weekly case rate in England stood at 201 people per 100,000 from 15 October to 21 October, up from 100 people per 100,000 for the week 25 September to 1 October. Cases are not evenly spread, with infection rates rising more rapidly in some areas than others.
‘We continue to see a worrying rise in cases right across the country, and it is clear decisive action is needed. We have agreed with local leaders to move more areas into the high local COVID alert level this week,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
‘These restrictions are challenging for us all, but it is only by working together and following the rules that we will bring down the rates of infection. A failure to act now will only lead to longer disruption and greater economic damage. I want to thank everyone who is playing their part to break the chains of transmission across the country. We will beat this virus, but we must stick together as we enter the winter months.’