Dear Sheryll Murray
I have been reading the government document about test, case and death date for Covid-19 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
I would appreciate it if you could answer the following questions:
From what I have read in these documents, it is my understanding that Pillar 1 testing takes place in NHS/PHE labs and is for those with a medical need and the most critical key workers. Pillar 2 takes place either at drive through testing sites, mobile testing units or home testing kits. These are for critical key workers in the NHS, Social Care and other sectors. I also read that all tests in Pillar 1 and the in-person tests from Pillar 2 (i.e. not the ones sent out as home testing kits) are processed through government labs:
This takes me to the death figures. In the govt document it says
“From 29 April, figures for deaths include all cases where there is a positive confirmed test for coronavirus. The figures include deaths with lab-confirmed COVID-19 in all settings, not just those in hospital, and this provides us with a single figure on an equivalent basis for the whole of the UK”.
So my first question is this:
What is meant by “lab-confirmed COVID-19” ?
Does it mean ONLY the Covid tests (that were positive) that were processed in the central govt labs (i.e. all pillar 1 tests and the in person only tests for pillar 2 as above) or …Does it include the ones that went to commercial labs (i.e. the tests carried out in commercial satellite testing centres and home testing kits as above)?
My second question is:
Would a person in a care home displaying symptoms or indeed an elderly person in their own home with symptoms come under Pillar 1 (because they have a medical need); in-person testing route for Pillar 2 or the satellite/ home testing kit route of Pillar 2?
If this sector of the population are not tested in the government labs then it could mean (depending on the answer to the questions) that some Covid deaths in care homes or in the community would still not be counted in the official Covid death figures.
Thank you for any clarification you can give on this matter.