Coronavirus: Stockton Council warns test data 'not good enough'

Drive through coronavirus testing Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Data from tests carried out by private mobile sites had not been released until last week

A council says it cannot spot outbreaks of coronavirus quickly because the data is "not yet good enough".

Stockton Council said, although it would get postcode-level information on positive tests, this would not allow it to identify workplace outbreaks.

The data was "not yet good enough" for adequate surveillance of the disease, it said.

The Department of Health (DHSC) said councils had testing data "right down to an individual and postcode level".

Given just postcode data the council would know if 10 people in 10 streets had tested positive, but would not know if they all worked in the same place.

The authority has requested occupation and workplace information.

"If councils feel they require more assistance with data, of course, PHE [Public Health England] is able to help them," a DHSC spokesperson said.

Stockton Council leader Bob Cook said guidance received had been "a bit piecemeal", the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

"We've got almost everything in place - but they haven't given us much time to do it and very little guidance," he said.

Local authorities have had Pillar 1 data, from hospital and NHS tests.

But, until last week, they have not had Pillar 2 data, from home testing kits and privately-run, drive-through test sites.

This was first made public on 1 July. PHE data for the week ending 28 June shows Stockton had 5.6 cases per 100,000 people, down from 14.7 the previous week.

There were 7.8 cases up from 6.4 in Middlesbrough, 6.4 up from 4.3 in Hartlepool, 5.1 up from 0.7 in Redcar and Cleveland and 141.3 up from 140.2 in Leicester, where stricter controls have been reintroduced.

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