Wokingham Borough COVID update

Testing was not widespread at the beginning at the pandemic.  In the early stages only hospital patients and staff were tested. This means there has always been an underestimate. Testing is now available widely which means positive cases are increasing and is a better reflection of the true number. The prioritisation was based on the number of tests available in the country. There is now enough testing available for everyone who needs it and to do mass swabbing for asymptomatic residents if there is a potential outbreak.  Pillar 1 and 2 gives us the information about WBC positive cases through antibody testing.

There is now enough testing available for everyone who needs it and to do mass swabbing for asymptomatic residents if there is a potential outbreak.  Pillar 1 and 2 gives us the information about WBC positive cases through antibody testing. Pillar 1 is swab testing done by Public Health England and NHS labs. These are hospital patients and key workers. Some of our care homes were tested in these labs. Pillar 2 is swab testing done by commercial labs. This is for testing the wider population though the NHS or gov.uk websites. This includes our care homes who were tested using the on line portal.  Pillar 2 testing started in April and has been gradually increasing.

Up to the 2nd July there has been 2,947,392 tests done in Pillar 1 (36%) and 5,130,686 tests done in pillar 2 (64%).   Up to the 1st July WBC has been reporting just Pillar 1 data with 485 cases currently reported on the WBC website. There has been no pillar 1 cases since the 14th June. Pillar 2 data has not been available to Local Authorities and the public until the 2nd July. PHE are now able to combine the data sets with a new methodology that enables them to remove duplicates and provide accurate data. 

Pillar 2 data was published nationally on the 2nd July. The confirmed cases are comprised: 

Pillar 1 total cases: 428

Pillar 2 total cases: 126

Infection rate in Wokingham Borough: 348 per 100,000

Infection rate national average: 436 per 100,000

As a result of the new Pillar 2 data being available, it has emerged that the number of cases in Wokingham Borough did increase with one case in the week June 15 to June 21 and five cases in the week June 22 to June 28. This has changed the weekly rate from 0.6 to 3.0 per 100,000. This is a minimal change considering the small numbers. Even though WBC did not have access to Pillar 2 data, Public Health England reports outbreaks to WBC on a daily basis. There are no current outbreaks in Wokingham. Access to better data will enable the council to respond more quickly to manage any potential Covid-19 outbreaks. We will shortly have access to post code data of all cases. Death data is reported from a different source, the Office for National Statistics. This is reported every Wednesday.  We have access to deaths from COVID -19, where it is mentioned on the death certificate, in care homes, hospitals, home and other settings. The caution for this data is the same as testing, not everyone was tested in the early part of the pandemic.  

A more accurate way of measuring the impact of the pandemic is to monitor excess mortality.  This data is publicly available. The report on the Council The report on the Council website reports on care homes mortality and excess mortality. Wokingham is either average or below England average for all Covd-19 deaths, excess mortality in the general population, and care homes. 

Comparing the Wokingham deaths to the last 5 years in week 25 there are no excess deaths in Wokingham and no excess deaths in care homes.