Posted: Tue 14th Jul 2020

‘Circuit Breakers’ revealed that would trigger lockdown rollbacks – Test Trace Protect system has over 80% success rate for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Welsh Government have published new data and a new report giving insight to the processes taking place to manage and monitor the pandemic in Wales.

The Test Trace Protect (TTP) system is based off people who receive a positive result engaging with the process, by reporting their recent contacts to the local contact tracer so that they can be contacted and notified to self-isolate (and take a test if they too are displaying symptoms), to help stop the spread of the virus.

New data for Wales states that between 28 June and 4 July:

  • of the 253 positive cases that were eligible for follow-up, 206 (81%) were reached and asked to provide details of their recent contacts
  • of the 540 close contacts that were eligible for follow-up, 461 (85%) were successfully contacted and advised accordingly, or had their case otherwise resolved

In total, since 21 June:

  • of the 582 positive cases that were eligible for follow-up, 480 (82%) were reached and asked to provide details of their recent contacts
  • of the 1,156 close contacts that were eligible for follow-up, 1,011 (87%) were successfully contacted and advised accordingly, or had their case otherwise resolved

The data contains a note, “The majority of cases not eligible for follow-up by local contact tracers occur in closed settings such as hospitals, care homes and prisons. These cases are escalated to regional teams for onward management.”

“The number of cases referred for contact tracing is different to the number of new cases published by Public Health Wales due to differences in timing and the level of validation carried out. Raw data from the laboratory testing system is fed into the contact tracing system that can, for example, include previously identified positive cases. “

In Wales, during the period from 1 to 21 June 2020, 1,905 positive cases were referred to local and regional contact tracing teams. This resulted in 2,616 contacts identified for follow-up, of which 2,117 have been successfully contacted and “advised accordingly”.

We asked the First Minister Mark Drakeford about the latest TTP stats, and asked if the figures were seen as satisfactory, and how can they be improved.

The First Minister replied, “The figures as a percentage are above the threshold that the system was designed to achieve. So the safe threshold is you’ve got to manage to get more than 75% of people contacted and although the numbers are, as you’ve said, I think that is over 80% of all contacts are within the safe threshold for it.

“We still rely on a voluntary regime. So nobody has to cooperate in this. Almost everybody does. That’s because most people in Wales understand that their actions have consequences for themselves and for others, and I am very grateful as ever, for the evidence over the weeks that our TTP system has been going, that we continue to have the confidence of people in Wales for it, and that most people, most of the time, come forward give their contacts and those contacts when contact is made with them do the right thing.”

“If we were to see the figures fall below the threshold levels, then we’d have to think again, but we do rely on the willingness of Welsh citizens to take part in the system for their own benefit and for the benefit of others.”

A second document was released by Welsh Government, the latest from the Technical Advisory Cell, detailing ‘Circuit Breakers’ and early warning indicators on what can trigger rollbacks and lockdowns.

The data being looked at includes looking at the ‘R’ figure and hospital data for Covid-19 related occupancy, general and ICU, to monitor the prevalence of the virus. Other data includes the ‘ZOE’ app information, 111 call information, monitoring the number of active lineages of Covid-19 in Wales as well as monitoring PPE stock levels.

In what has become regular questions over data and methods of release, we asked the First Minister if tracking of the indicators will be done via an easy to view dashboard so the public are aware at a glance at the ongoing situations. We also noted currently there is lots of data, but the majority is buried in separate spreadsheets that cover different reporting windows.

The First Minister said, “As I have said to you before, we are very keen to make as much information available as possible. That sometimes does mean that it’s complex, because there’s a lot of it and you have got to find your way to different places to get hold of it. But, the circuit breakers are intended to be used publicly, so that the wider public in Wales has a sense of where the virus would need to be, if we were to have to roll back some of the easing of lockdown that we’ve been able to achieve over the last 9 to 12 weeks.

“So yes, it’s intended for public use, we’ll try and make sure that it’s done in a way that is easy for people to get hold of rather than having to search for it and we hope they will never need to be used, because our ambition is to go on working together to keep coronavirus below the level where those circuit breakers would end up being engaged.”



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