A total of 101,494 people tested positive for COVID-19 in England at least once in the week to 14 October, according to the latest NHS Test and Trace figures.
This is an increase of 12% in positive cases on the previous week and is the highest weekly number since test and trace was launched at the end of May.
The number of deaths is beginning to match the increasing number of cases, there were 241 deaths on Tuesday, the highest since 5 June.
With cases rising the UK’s test and trace system continues to be under strain getting further and further away from the government’s targets.
Watch: Coronavirus: Untrained staff take on contact-tracing jobs as Test and Trace struggles to cope with rise in cases
Just 15.1% of people who were tested for COVID-19 in England in the week ending 14 October at a regional or local site received their result within 24 hours.
This is down from 32.8% in the previous week and is the lowest weekly percentage since NHS Test and Trace began.
Only 2.9% of people in England who used a home test kit for COVID-19 received their result within 24 hours in the week to 14 October.
This is up slightly from 1.9% in the previous week.
Some 14.8% of people received the result of a home test within 48 hours, down from 16.0% in the previous week.
Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.
The prime minister told the House of Commons on 3 June that he would get “all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that”.
The latest figures also showed 59.6% of close contacts of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in England were reached through the NHS Test and Trace system in the week ending 14 October.
This is the lowest weekly percentage since test and trace began and is down from 63.0% in the previous week.
For cases handled by local health protection teams, 94.8% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to October 14.
For cases handled either online or by call centres, 57.6% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.
“Serco is only delivering a contact tracing rate of 68.1% & SAGE has said we need a ... rate of 80%”@drrosena tells @rsoames that track & trace should be run by local authorities as they have a higher success rate. He argues her criticism is based on “fake data” #Peston pic.twitter.com/8NzM0oFH3W
— Peston (@itvpeston) October 21, 2020
The head of Serco, Rupert Soames, whose company runs much of the Test and Trace call centres claimed on Wednesday that much of the negative data used to criticise their operation was “fake”.
There has also been a steep rise in hospital admissions, particularly in the North West where much of the region is under Tier 3 lockdown.
The medical director of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust said on Thursday they were now treating more patients with coronavirus than it was at the peak of the first wave.
Writing on Twitter, Dr Tristan Cope said: “Sadly we are now treating more patients in hospital with COVID-19 @LivHospitals than we did in April at the peak of the first wave and numbers continue to rise.”
He said the hospital network of Liverpool was “huge strain” and urged people to follow the guidance in order to reduce infections.
The government has also warned hospitals in Greater Manchester risk being overwhelmed in a matter of weeks unless infections begin to drop.
After a long round of negotiations, Greater Manchester will become the first area of the UK to enter Tier 3 lockdown on Friday without an agreed deal between the government and local leaders.
South Yorkshire will be joining them on Saturday after the four local authorities of the area and Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis agreed a support package deal with the government on Wednesday.
Talks are ongoing with Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire putting them in Tier 3 but it is understood no announcement is expected this week.