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Norfolk had 600 more coronavirus cases than reported at height of pandemic

PUBLISHED: 13:12 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:49 03 July 2020

Norwich, is one of three areas in Norfolk which has seen a fall in the coronavirus infection rate within the last week.
. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich, is one of three areas in Norfolk which has seen a fall in the coronavirus infection rate within the last week. . Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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There were almost 600 more coronavirus cases in Norfolk at the height of the pandemic than previously reported in government figures, we can reveal.

Postwick park and ride coronavirus test centre. Picture: Mike PagePostwick park and ride coronavirus test centre. Picture: Mike Page

In Suffolk, 1,000 positive test results went unreported in public data.

On Thursday night, the government’s daily dashboard recording the number of positive coronavirus tests in England was updated to include testing for all local authorities.

For the first time, at a local level, it included those tests carried out in the wider community, using home testing kits and drive-through centres, known as Pillar 2.

Up until now, the data has only included Pillar 1 tests, carried out in hospitals on staff and patients.

By comparing the Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 tests, the data shows that 598 positive cases – mostly from the height of the pandemic between April and May – were not made public. In Suffolk, the figure was 1,034.

Since the middle of June, this data has been shared with local authorities and public health leaders, the government said.

The figures come as the infection rate in both Norfolk and Suffolk fell once again to among the lowest in the country.

In Norfolk just 12 people tested positive for coronavirus last week - a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 people.

In Suffolk the rate is even lower at 0.9, with eight people testing positive.

In Leicester, where lockdown has been extended, it is 140 per 100,000.

Public Health England (PHE) and the government have faced criticism this week over their handling of local data on coronavirus cases.

There have been accusations of long delays in sharing these more detailed figures with regional public health experts.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said all councils in England can now access testing data, down to an individual and postcode level.

PHE began providing positive test data – which had been shared with the public health agency for several months – to local councils last week, officials said.

Here’s a breakdown for Norfolk (up to July 1, 2020):

Pillar 1 positive tests - 2244

Pillar 2 positive tests – 598

Total number of cases across Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 - 2,842


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