The number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Bath & North East Somerset has risen by almost 100, due to a change in the way that Public Health England publishes data on testing.
The number of confirmed cases in Bath & North East Somerset now stands at 336, a rise of 97 cases from the previously reported total of 239.
This is due to Public Health England now adding ‘pillar 2’ testing to their daily figures, which include the results from swab testing for the wider population, via drive-through facilities and home testing kits.
Up until 2nd July, the daily figures only included ‘pillar 1’ tests – swab testing in Public Health England (PHE) labs and NHS hospitals.
From now on, the data will include both pillar 1 and pillar 2 tests, giving a more accurate view of how the virus is affecting the area.
The pillar 2 data for Bath & North East Somerset will contain positive tests from the drive-through coronavirus testing facility at Bristol Airport, as well as the mobile testing unit currently operating at the Park & Ride site in Odd Down.
Responding to the publication of the pillar 2 data, Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “It is good that there will be increased transparency on testing data, with the publication of Pillar 2 figures online.
“However, the new data in the dashboard does not give councils the information they need to identify specifically where in their area outbreaks are occurring in order to work locally to contain them.
“We continue to call for access to this smaller area data.
“Councils also need to see improvements to the individual case data that public health officials have started to receive, including making the data available for all tests and not just positive ones, adding UPRNs (property reference numbers), and providing more information about workplaces.
“The most important thing is that the public and those working on the frontline get a complete picture of the impact this virus has had in our neighbourhoods and in our communities, regardless of how the data is collected and where it is processed.
“This will help councils to work with their communities, to manage potential outbreaks and prevent the spread of infection.”
We’ve asked for comments from Public Health England and Bath & North East Somerset Council regarding the change in reporting method and the increase in confirmed cases, and will update this story when they are received.