There has been much reporting in the national news about areas in the country that have a high risk of ‘local’ lockdowns – as has been imposed on Leicester following a recent outbreak there.
The Isle of Wight council say, “An outbreak is generally defined as two or more cases connected in time to a specific place (not a household) for example, in a care home, school or factory”.
Yesterday, the leader of Isle of Wight council, Dave Stewart, said,
“I want to reassure everyone that despite reports today that suggest otherwise, the Island is not at any immediate risk of a lockdown of the sort we are currently seeing in Leicester.
“Our rate of infection remains among the lowest in the country and we hope that with our outbreak management plan in place and the community’s continued support we can keep it that way.”
High risk area?
However, the Isle of Wight was one of the areas that was identified as high risk for a potential second lock down – based on data analysed by researchers at Oxford University’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science.
If you have been following the national news, you’ll have heard reference to Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 testing, so we thought it would be useful to explain what this refers to.
What are the Pillars?
Tests in the UK are carried out through a number of different routes:
- Pillar 1: swab testing in Public Health England (PHE) labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers
- Pillar 2: swab testing for the wider population, as set out in government guidance
- Pillar 3: serology testing to show if people have antibodies from having had Covid-19
- Pillar 4: serology and swab testing for national surveillance supported by PHE, ONS, Biobank, universities and other partners to learn more about the prevalence and spread of the virus and for other testing research purposes, for example on the accuracy and ease of use of home testing
Lack of Pillar 2 testing hinders response
As reported by the Financial Times yesterday, a lack of Pillar 2 testing data is hampering the efforts of local authority leaders to manage new outbreaks.
It’s not clear whether the Isle of Wight council have access to Pillar 2 testing, but News OnTheWight have asked and will update once we hear back.
To find out more about Pillar testing see the Government Website.