Test and trace blunder blamed for 32% drop in Covid app test results

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A cost-saving mistake by the government’s Test and Trace service has led to a 32 per cent drop in positive Covid test results recorded in the Covid-19 app, Granthshala has learned.

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Sources say the mistake undermined the app’s core function and meant that thousands of potential close contacts who were at risk of infection were not identified or pinged during the week to October 6.

Around 19,000 fewer positive tests were loaded into the app by patients since 29 September, with NHS officials condensed direct information for patients in a single text message, with instructions to register positive test results at the bottom of a longer message. with.

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The change was made to cut down on the number of SMS messages being sent by Test & Trace to help save costs.

The Covid-19 app uses the positive test result to check the user’s location and any nearby phones of people who may be at risk of infection. They then receive an alert and are asked to self-isolate to break the chain of transmission.

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Insiders believe that the change was a mistake that did not appreciate its impact when the app failed to act on the prompt to add its test result.

Despite the reduced risk, the number of negative test results recorded in the app dropped from 162,000 to 87,499 between September 29 and October 6.

A source close to the test and trace operation told Granthshala: “This change was made to save money, by reducing the number of text messages sent to people. But the unintended consequence was that people could not see the important code in a very long text message and this meant that He probably tested positive in his app code.

“This has reduced the functionality of the app and means it is not able to perform the job it was designed to do effectively.”

Data on test results recorded in the Covid-19 app shows a significant drop in the latest week

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Data on test results recorded in the Covid-19 app shows a significant drop in the latest week

It comes after 43,000 people were wrongly given a negative PCR test result when they were actually infected with Covid-19, following errors by a private lab since early September, which has since been tested by Test and Trace. has been suspended.

Overall Covid infections across the UK are on the rise with nearly one million infections, with around one in 10 children infected, the latest weekly survey conducted by the ONS on Friday.

Officials from the UK’s Health Protection Agency noticed a drop in positive test uploads on the app and changes have been made to text messages to follow instructions.

The changes are being monitored to assess their impact.

A UKHSA spokesperson said: “We continue to review our communications. Anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus should enter their result code into the app to inform others that they may be at risk. “

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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