NHS trust sees rise in young people seeking Covid-19 tests
The South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in the Middlesbrough area, said it has had young people turn up hoping to get a test.
In a statement, Julie Suckling, service manager for emergency medicine, said: “We have seen an increase in children and young people attending our A&E asking for a coronavirus test.
“Anyone requiring a test should follow the guidance on the Government website.”
Mr Johnson said an inquiry into the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic would “look at everything that has gone wrong and gone right”
But he said it would not be a “good use of official time at the moment”, and declined to indicate when the inquiry could begin.
The Prime Minister also faced questions on the civil service from Tory MP William Wragg – chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.
Mr Wragg asked Mr Johnson why he thought the civil service requires reform.
Mr Johnson said: “I think that they are fantastic public servants and I think that they deliver extraordinary things every day for the British public and every level of government.
“I do think, as I said in a speech in Dudley, I do think perhaps there are lessons we need to draw from this… maybe there are some times when we need people to be able to move faster, project speed is of great value I think to the workings of our civil service.
“And we certainly won’t be shy of reform where it is necessary.”
PM says people are not seeking coronavirus tests in the correct circumstances
Boris Johnson told MPs: “Many people are seeking to get a test in the hope that they can thereby be released to get on with their lives in the normal way – people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, for instance, they are seeking to get a test to ensure that they are OK to go to work.”
He told the Liaison Committee: “That is perfectly reasonable, and I understand why people are doing that, but the advice and the guidance is that people should seek a test not in those circumstances but when they have symptoms.”
Boris Johnson admits there is not enough coronavirus testing capacity
The Prime Minister told the Commons Liaison Committee: “We don’t have enough testing capacity now because, in an ideal world, I would like to test absolutely everybody that wants a test immediately.”
He promised that there would be capacity for 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.
But he urged people without symptoms to stay away from testing centres – although he acknowledged the reasons why they may want to find out if they had Covid-19.
“What has happened is demand has massively accelerated just in the last couple of weeks,” he told MPs.
Mayor of Greater Manchester says around 110 schools in the area have reported coronavirus cases
Andy Burnham said: “It clearly is disrupting the return to schools but, nevertheless, it was never going to be plain sailing, I don’t think.
“I think the issue to put to the Prime Minister is, given that we knew the return of schools would put more pressure on the system, why wasn’t more done?”
He added: “This is causing real distress for families but also for schools as well, so it needs to be fixed and fixed urgently.”
Nicola Sturgeon still has concerns about the amount of time being taken to process coronavirus tests at UK Government laboratories
The First Minister again spoke of pressures on the testing system in England which have caused a delay in people getting results.
Her comments came as a UK Government minister insisted coronavirus testing capacity in Scotland is “increasing enormously”.
Iain Stewart also said that if decisions need to be made over who should be the priority for testing in Scotland, that would be for the Scottish Government.
Coronavirus tests in England are to be rationed as the Government at Westminster struggles to get to grips with soaring demand.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there will be testing “prioritisation” for people with acute clinical need and those in social care settings, as he acknowledged “operational challenges” in the system.
First Minister Ms Sturgeon stressed on Tuesday there was “not by and large” an issue with getting tests north of the border.
But she said “constraints” at the UK Government’s Lighthouse laboratories meant results were being delayed – an issue she has raised in talks with Mr Hancock and Dido Harding, the head of the UK testing system.
Hotspots should get priority testing – mayor
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said those with a postcode in areas with the highest rates of coronavirus should be given priority when booking a coronavirus test.
He said: “On testing, we do need the Government to prioritise areas with the highest numbers of cases for bookings through the national system.”
Mr Burnham added: “What we have here are systems which are not sufficiently attuned to the needs of local communities, systems that don’t prioritise areas of greatest need for testing to available capacity.”
He said tests had still been taking place in Greater Manchester this week but probably at a reduced capacity and there was increased demand.
Test and Trace is failing Greater Manchester, says mayor
Speaking during his weekly online press conference, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said police community support officers and fire staff would be called on to help with contact tracing as the national Test and Trace system was failing to reach 46 per cent of named contacts in the area.
He said: “Test, trace and isolate is not working well enough for Greater Manchester at the moment and we have only a small number of weeks to fix it before we go into the really tough time which lies ahead in the autumn and into the winter.”
Mr Burnham added: “We have agreements from Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to mobilise a number of police community support officers and fire safety staff to focus their efforts on contacting the contacts that are currently not being reached in Greater Manchester by the national system.”
He also called on businesses to give employees permission and financial support to self-isolate if asked to do so by the NHS Test and Trace system and said a self-isolation support service was being set up by the Greater Manchester Growth Company.
Hospital deaths up by 11 in England:
A further 11 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England.
This brings the total number of confirmed deaths in hospitals to 29,687, NHS England reported this lunchtime.
Patients were aged between 69 and 98 and all had known underlying health conditions.
The dates of the deaths were between September 11 and September 15, with the majority on September 14.
Five other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
The latest figures for Wales are in:
There have been a further 199 cases of Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 19,880.
Public Health Wales said no further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic remaining at 1,597.
Cases, and hospital admissions, are on the up…
Study hints antibody drug may cut Covid-19 hospitalisations
A drug company says that partial results from a study testing an antibody drug hint that it may help mild to moderately ill coronavirus patients from needing to be hospitalised.
Eli Lilly announced the results in a press release today, but they have not been published or reviewed by independent scientists.
The company said it would talk with regulators about possible next steps but that it was too soon to speculate on whether interim results might lead to any action to allow early use.
“I’m strongly encouraged” by the results, said Dr Myron Cohen, a University of North Carolina virologist.
“This seems to demonstrate what we thought” — that such drugs would give a benefit, he said.
The drugs that Lilly and other companies are testing are concentrated versions of specific antibodies that worked best against the coronavirus in lab and animal tests, and can be made in large, standardised doses.
They are being tested to treat newly diagnosed Covid-19 patients in hope of preventing serious disease or death, and to try to prevent infection in people at high risk of that such as nursing home residents and health workers.
Lilly has already started manufacturing its antibody drug, hoping to have hundreds of thousands of doses ready by autumn if studies give positive results.
A hospital boss in Bolton has urged people to stay away from its accident and emergency unit unless strictly necessary after nearly 100 turned up to request Covid-19 tests.
The plea came as admissions of patients with coronavirus increased over the weekend and the infection rate across the borough – the highest by far in England – continued to rise sharply.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, which is based at the Royal Bolton Hospital in Farnworth, said on Tuesday morning there were three coronavirus patients in critical care and a total of 20 on wards.
It added an increased number of patients under 65 are being admitted, with some in their 40s and 50s.
The trust’s medical director, Dr Francis Andrews, said: “We are seeing more people being admitted with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 as a result of the very high rate of infections in Bolton. This is not a shift we want to see.
“The situation at the hospital is under control and we were well prepared for this.
“However, the rate continuing to rise is of concern and we continue to urge the people of Bolton to consider others when making decisions that could jeopardise their safety.”
He added: “We are extremely busy in our emergency department as a result of this increase.
“Only attend this department if you have experienced a life-threatening accident or illness and need urgent medical attention.”
Teachers and kids to be given testing priority
Robert Halfon MP, Tory chairman of the Commons Education Committee, said he understood schools would be included in the Government’s list of priority groups for who should be first in line for Covid-19 tests.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs on Tuesday that tests would need to be rationed due to the current strain on the system.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme, Mr Halfon said: “As I understand it, schools will be on the priority list.
“Also, the Government, the Department for Education need to make a decision – are we going to risk damaging the life chances of our children still further?
“We have got to do everything possible to keep our schools open.”
Mr Halfon has called for schools to have access to coronavirus tests within 48 hours, explaining: “If we don’t do this, we won’t just have over 300 schools partially closed or fully closed as we have at the moment, we could have a lot more.”
This graph shows how hospital admissions have steadily crept up in the UK since July:
More on that lockdown announcement for Wales:
Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru member of the Senedd for the Rhondda, said the local lockdown was “disappointing but not a surprise”.
“This was something we feared would happen due to the increase in transmission rates,” she said.
“I urge everyone to follow the guidance on social distancing, washing hands and only meeting other households outdoors.
“Wearing face masks inside shops is also essential. I also urge everyone who is contacted by Track and Trace to co-operate fully so we can shut this virus down.
“The sooner we get this under control, the sooner we can ease restrictions and the safer our loved ones will be.”
Here’s Sir Keir Starmer’s reaction to his deputy’s performance at today’s PMQs:
NHS and social care staff are being urged to “do their bit” and have a flu jab as the health service ramps up its preparations for winter.
In a letter to all frontline workers in England, leaders including Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, and NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said it was “now more important than ever that we act to protect ourselves, our teams, our families and patients from getting flu”.
NHS chiefs want staff to have their annual free flu jab as soon as possible, as the first vaccine deliveries start to reach local employers this week.
Social care workers are also eligible to get a free flu vaccination from a GP or pharmacist, with pharmacists also visiting care homes to vaccinate staff.
The letter pointed to the fact seasonal flu and Covid-19 will be circulating at the same time this winter, adding: “We strongly urge you to take up the offer of free vaccination against flu as soon as possible; and to remind your patients to get their vaccine.”
Flu virus spreads from person to person “even amongst those not showing any symptoms”, while also contributing to staff sickness rates, it added.
“As we all know, flu can have serious and even fatal consequences, especially for our most vulnerable patients, such as young children, pregnant women and the elderly.
“Therefore, vaccination of healthcare workers is a critical part of the NHS’s flu prevention strategy.”