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8% of local test results are wrong, claim

 
Created on 22/10/2020 @ 14:30
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Care home staff are being tested for Covid-19 several times in case their results throw up false positives.

MyWelshpool is aware of one Welshpool care home employee who had both a negative and a positive test within 24 hours, and at the Economy, Residents, Communities and Governance Scrutiny Committee, fears that people might lose faith in the testing regime was discussed.

The draft report for Powys County Council’s quarter two performance, from July to the end of September, shows that the Test Trace and Protect (TTP) system being jointly run with Powys Teaching Health Board is the best performer in Wales with a 99% success rate.

Cllr Jeremy Pugh said that he had discussions with experts in the Health Industry, who had shared that roughly 8% of the test results are wrong. The Government has claimed that the rate is actually 0.8%.

Cllr Pugh said:  “It would be wise to look into this, I’m concerned the public’s belief in the system is being lost. If things get worse it will be more difficult than ever to get them to adhere to the rules to prevent the spread.”

Director of Environment and Economy Nigel Brinn, who is overseeing the PCC side of TTP, stressed that he’s not an epidemiologist or virologist before answering.

Mr Brinn said: “Cllr Pugh has raised this issue with me before, and I have taken some advice from PTHB. When there is mass testing such as at a workplace, there are false positives, there’s no question about that.

“There is routine testing in care homes and we are very conscious of false positive tests there.

“The advice I have been given is if you have symptoms, there’s a very low chance of a false positive result.”

Mr Brinn added: “It is an area which is being scrutinised and better understood as we progress through the pandemic.”

He added that it would be “nice” to have a simple test that worked perfectly.

“I’m afraid the science isn’t there,” said Mr Brinn.

He added that it was testing people without symptoms which caused concern and this was why care home staff are tested more than once.

Mr Brinn said: “That’s the regime we have in place in our care homes.”

The report, says that from July to the end of September, 198 cases were investigated and 870 contacts were tracked down.

This 99% success rate makes Powys the highest performing Contact Tracing Team in Wales.

During this time they have also helped tracing teams in other Welsh local authorities which have had significant Covid-19 outbreaks.

The report adds that as of Monday, October 12, the TTP team has now extended its hours to work 12 hours a day from 8am to 8pm.

This allows them to react to cases that come onto the system later in the day.


 

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