THE CHANGES to Covid-19 testing this week are likely to mean an end to daily case figure reporting across Wales.
News outlets across the country have routinely published daily case figures for local areas since Public Health Wales set up its reporting dashboard early in the pandemic in 2020 with infection rates and deaths – and later vaccination rates – of every local authority included.
With the scrapping of routine testing – with all PCR testing site in Wales closing today (March 31) and the end of free lateral flow tests for asymptomatic people – the data will no longer be available.
Health and social care workers will still have access to free lateral flow testing twice a week but from Friday, April 1 only those eligible for covid-19 treatments can order PCR tests for at home.
Routine asymptomatic testing in childcare and education settings, except special education provision, will stop at the end of the term on April 8.
There is strong guidance from Public Health Wales to continue to self-isolate for five days if testing positive although the legal requirement to do so ended on March 28.
In reference to the future of Covid reporting Dr Chris Williams, Consultant Epidemiologist for Health Protection at Public Health Wales, said:
“Public Health Wales monitors a wide range of seasonal respiratory viruses without recourse to population level testing. Any arrangements once mass-testing ends will in likelihood mirror arrangements with other viruses.
“The future surveillance of covid-19 is currently under review and we will announce changes to publishing the data dashboard once this is confirmed. This will likely be in a phased way from the current dashboard, moving to surveillance integrated with other respiratory infections over this year, depending on how testing behaviours and the epidemiological situation varies over time.”
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