A total of 167,369 people tested positive for COVID-19 in England at least once in the week to 11 November – the highest weekly number since NHS Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.
However, only around 60.5% of close contacts of people who tested positive for COVID in England were reached through the test and trace system, latest government figures show.
The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) recommends that at least 80% of close contacts of positive cases must be reached for test and trace to be effective.
Data shows that 9.6% of people tested had a positive result, similar to the 9.7% reported the previous week.
This is unchanged on the previous week, and is also just above the all-time low of 60.1% for the week to 14 October.
For cases managed by local health protection teams, 98.9% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to 11 November.
For cases managed either online or by call centres, 58.9% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.
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Of the 156,853 people transferred to the test and trace system in the week to 11 November, 84.9% were reached and asked to provide details of recent close contacts.
This is down slightly from 85.6% in the previous week, which was the highest weekly percentage since test and trace began.
Some 13.7% of people transferred to test and trace were not reached, while a further 1.4% did not provide any communication details.
A total of 38.0% of people who were tested for COVID-19 in England in the week ending 11 November at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called “in-person” test – received their result within 24 hours.
This is up slightly from 37.5% in the previous week.
He 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”.
Only 3.9% of people in England who used a home test kit received their result within 24 hours – down slightly from 4.5% in the previous week.
Some 43.3% of people received the result of a home test within 48 hours, down from 57.7% in the previous week.
While defending the “colossal” achievements of NHS Test and Trace, Downing Street nevertheless acknowledged improvements could be made.
A No 10 spokesman said: “We are testing more people per head of population than any other European country and that will grow thanks to our increased testing capacity.
“We accept there are still improvements to be made, and we will continue to work on it”.
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