Understanding Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 testing data

picture to describe tracing

Posted on: 3 July 2020

There has been much discussion this week about what data is available to local authorities to help us identify and respond to local outbreaks quickly.

If you have been following the national news, you’ll have heard reference to Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 testing.

  • Pillar 1 testing is swab testing in Public Health England (PHE) labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers.
  • Pillar 2 testing is swab testing for the wider population, including in-person tests at national drive or walk though testing sites and home test kits delivered to you.

The way the government reports positive tests changed on 2 July to remove duplicate results within pillars 1 and 2, so that a person who tests positive is only counted once.

Until this week, the government has only shown Pillar 1 results by area on its daily dashboard, but as of now positive cases from testing in the wider community (known as Pillar 2) are available at local authority level too.

Public Health England has been sharing data with us for some time and we’ve been using it, along with other sources, to keep track of all positive cases in Devon and inform our response.

Under the Pillar 2 testing an additional 353 cases have been added to Devon’s total figure. These are not newly detected cases, they are just the number of cases identified through the Pillar 2 testing which haven’t previously been published by the government.

Even with the Pillar 2 cases added in, the overall situation in the county hasn’t changed and we remain one of the local authority areas with the very lowest infection rates.

With our Local Outbreak Management Plan now in place, we are working on publishing regular up- to-date local and national data on our website as it becomes available to ensure everyone in Devon is as informed as possible about the situation in the county, so they can work with us to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe. We will share the webpage with you as soon as its ready.

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