Coronavirus: Fewer than 1.5% NHS Wales staff tested

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Dr Andrew Goodall
Image caption,
Andrew Goodall said Public Health Wales was exploring options for more labs being able to test

Fewer than 1.5% of health service staff have been tested for coronavirus, the head of NHS Wales has confirmed.

More than 1,500 staff have been tested to date but there is a promise to test 1,100 people a day from next week.

Meanwhile, there has been a dramatic 60% fall in people attending hospital emergency units over the last two weeks.

NHS Wales chief executive Andrew Goodall said there had been a "significant drop" in normal activity.

He also said over the last couple of days around 200 health care workers a day were now being tested.

"Just yesterday we were close to 1,000 tests actually being processed and you will continue to see those numbers actually rising in Wales," he said.

Dr Goodall told the daily news briefing he was continuing to explore opportunities to expand testing capacity.

Tests among the NHS workforce in Wales started on 18 March.

But with more than 104,000 people working in NHS Wales, including 9,469 in GP practices, fewer than 1.5% have so far been tested.

Image source, zetat/Getty Images
Image caption,
More tests for NHS workers are expected by the middle of the month

The numbers being tested by mid-April are anticipated to jump to 5,000 tests a day to see if people have the virus.

In England, only 2,000 frontline health workers - compared to the 1.2m who work for NHS England - have been tested.

Dr Goodall said 10% of the NHS Wales workforce were currently off work sick. He said this was "probably" twice the normal rate.

Meanwhile, the number of A&E attendances over the last two weeks has reduced by up to 60%.

The number of emergency admissions has also fallen from around 420 a day on average to around 150 a day across Wales.

'Greatest difference'

Dr Goodall urged the public to continue to play its part by following the "stay at home" rules.

He said: "These measures are helping to limit further transmission and are a critical part of the plans we are putting in place in Wales and across the UK.

"We are recruiting extra NHS staff, and we are bringing extra capacity online, but limiting the demand will make the greatest difference, the public's own actions will help to protect our NHS and to save lives."