New Covid-19 testing data comes to light, explaining previous small rise in confirmed cases during App rollout

If you were wondering why the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases did not increase much during the roll out of the Contact Tracing App – despite 1,765 people being notified via it – this is why.

covid19 in test tube

If you were wondering why the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases did not increase much during the roll out of the Contact Tracing App, here’s why.

Stats for Pillar 2 testing (home testing kits, drive through swabs etc) have not been included in the daily/weekly numbers. In June for example, we saw a rise of just four confirmed cases according to Public Health England.

This is despite 1,765 people being notified via the App that they’d come into close contact with someone showing symptoms.

According to Nadine Dorries, Minister for Health and Social Care,

“The contract with Deloitte does not require the company to report positive cases to Public Health England and local authorities.”

See below a press release from the Isle of Wight council, in their own words. Ed

The Isle of Wight Council has moved to reassure Islanders that there has not been a local surge in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases and residents should not panic or feel unduly armed.

It follows the recent release of cumulative Covid-19 infection rates for the Isle of Wight and the expected release of new data later today (2nd July).

The Public Health England (PHE) dashboard currently provides numbers of cases from tests done in NHS and PHE laboratories — known as pillar 1 data (find out what this means).

Pillar 2 data
However, from today, PHE is expected to also publish the number of test results from swabs taken at drive through centres and home testing kits processed in commercial labs — known as pillar 2 data.

This pillar 2 data was only made available last week to Public Health departments to inform the development and management of local Covid-19 outbreak control plans.

Last week PHE also published, for the first time, data which combined the rates of infection detected under both pillar 1 and pillar 2.

This shows that in the week commencing 15th June, the Island had a cumulative rate of Covid-19 cases of 296.03 per 100,000 population — to put this into context, the cumulative rate across England is 425.8 and closer to home, 360.77 in Southampton and 308.43 in West Sussex.

Leicester’s rate per 100,000 was 875.8 in that same period.

Bryant: No evidence to suggest Covid-19 cases are increasing
Simon Bryant, director of public health at the council, said there was no evidence to suggest Covid-19 cases were increasing over and above expected levels and it was important to understand this was cumulative data.

He said:

“I can reassure residents and businesses that the Island currently has low number of cases of Covid-19 and residents should not be unduly alarmed by this cumulative data.

“The important figure is how many new cases are being identified. In the week in question the infection rate for the Island was 2.8 per 100,000 population compared with a median of 5.4 across England and 140.2 in Leicester.

“Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our residents, and we will continue to use all data available to us to support our health and care system.

“The advice about hand washing, keeping our distance and following guidance is still paramount and will help to manage infection outbreaks.”

Data can’t be published
Pillar 2 data is ‘owned’ by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and is provided on the basis that the council does not publish the information, but uses it for the purposes it is provided.

Council leader, Dave Stewart, said the provision of pillar 2 data had been a significant concern to the council as it had been for all local authorities across the country for some time.

He said:

“We understand that the government is planning to publish the pillar 2 data for all local authorities very shortly and welcome this development as an important step in helping us to better warn, inform and protect the Island’s community and contain the spread of the virus.

 “I am pleased to reassure the Island community that despite the update on data regarding Covid-19 cases, we continue to experience one of the lowest levels in the country.

“I am sure this is due to the support and commitment of our community in following our guidance and advice.

“The data takes account of our local testing and the increase is consistent with the national picture. But in our case, reaffirms the success we have had in keeping infections down and thereby keeping our community safe.”

Image: Vincent Ghilione under CC BY 2.0

Thursday, 2nd July, 2020 2:37pm



Filed under: Health, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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11 Comments on "New Covid-19 testing data comes to light, explaining previous small rise in confirmed cases during App rollout"

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All officials have wanted to paint a glossy picture throughout this pandemic, being highly selective about the information being released to the public.

I wouldn’t trust a single word any of them say.

Rupert Besley
This from Nadine Dorries, Minister for Health & Social Care: “The contract with Deloitte does not require the company to report positive cases to Public Health England and local authorities.” Of all the barmy things I’ve read about this pandemic, this looks to me to be about the barmiest. Why on earth is public money in large amounts going into the pockets of a private company over… Read more »
Rupert Besley
Following on from above, I appreciate, of course, the issues around personal privacy and contact tracing, but, unless I’ve misunderstood this, there seems to be a failure of coordination of planning from above which means that data on the spread of the virus is not getting back to ground level properly and fully for a month or so, by which time it is far too late for… Read more »

The answer is very simple Rupert, this is simply a ‘snouts in the trough’ Tory scam to spirit away as much taxpayers money as possible into the pockets of private enterprise, without mandating them to reveal failure and embarrass their Conservative chums.

High time we were rid of this Mickey Mouse government.


It’s so Ministers can stand up in the House of Commons and say to a concerned public, we are doing so many tests, but they are not really interested in the results.

Jenny Smart

Why not simply be honest, and say you don’t really know the number of infected people on the island, because not everyone is being tested.?


We should test everybody so we pick up the people with no symptoms and isolate them before they spread.


You’ve got that the wrong way round! Isolate those that have the virus then they can’t infect those that are clear….

Rhos yr Alarch
It would be helpful if the number of recent infections revealed under Pillar 2 could be made public. Pillar 1 shows five for June, so an equivalent for Pillar 2 would be useful to help the public assess risk. “Expected levels” is not really much help, nor is a cumulative total covering the whole period since the virus arrived. If we are to exeercice common sense in… Read more »
Sally Perry

The Pillar 2 data is due out later today we’re told, but I’m not sure they’ll be releasing it in the sensible way you suggest (ie. week by week or month by month)


Here is the infection rate for COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people for the week ending 28 June:

Portsmouth. 0

Southampton 0.4

Isle of Wight 2.1