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Coronavirus cases up by 17% since last week, new test and trace figures show

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in England has increased by 17%.
Test and trace figures showed an increase in cases in England in the past week

There has been a 17% increase in positive coronavirus cases in England from last week, according to the latest test and trace figures.

Data from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) shows 4,966 people tested positive between July 23-29. This is 713 more cases than the week before, marking the third consecutive weekly rise.

Only 11 of the cases were detected in hospital, while the rest were reported in the community via home-testing kits or drive-through centres.

The increase in positive cases comes despite the number of people being tested rising by just 4% overall in the same period.

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Officials put the rise in cases down to ramped-up testing in coronavirus hotspot areas but acknowledged that there has been an overall rise in incidence of the virus.

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However, the number of people who tested positive who were not reached by Test and Trace increased from 634 (almost 15%) to 873 (almost 19%) in the space of a week.

Laboratory technicians wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) unpack a box with test tubes containing live samples taken from people tested for the novel coronavirus, at a new Lighthouse Lab facility dedicated to the testing for COVID-19, at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on April 22, 2020.
The data shows that close contacts of positive coronavirus cases are still being missed (Picture: AFP)

The figures also show a decrease in the amount of close contacts of coronavirus sufferers that were successfully reached after being identified.

The DHSC report read: ‘The overall percentage of contacts reached has been declining since test and trace began, primarily due to the reduction in contacts relating to local outbreaks (complex cases), as these are managed by local health protection teams and have a higher success rate than those dealt with by contact tracers.’

A total of 47,762 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England have had their cases transferred to the NHS Test and Trace system since it launched nine weeks ago.

In the last week alone, 4,642 were transferred to the system, with 79% being reached by tracers – down from 81.4 per cent the week prior.

Tracers identified the names of 19,150 people who had come into close contact with a person who had tested positive.

ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - JULY 04: An NHS Test and Trace form is displayed at the entrance of the Regal Moon JD Wetherspoons pub on July 04, 2020 in Rochdale, England.
The test and trace system has been running for nine weeks (Picture: Getty)

Of those, 72% were reached and asked to self-isolate – marking a 76% drop from the previous week.

The figures show that while local health protection teams were able to contact most (98%) close contacts of positive cases, call centres are struggling to reach people.

Out of cases handled online or by call centres, only about 56% of close contacts were reached.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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