Covid-19 Testing

Pillar 1

Capacity is being maintained as a consequence of new rapid units that have recently been deployed and are being used in frontline services including emergency departments.

LCL LAMP testing went live with effect from 18.01.21. Volumes are small currently and it’s expected that full operational capacity will be achieved by mid-March. The key limiting factor currently is the scarcity of HCPC certified Bio-Medical Scientists.

In Greater Manchester work is continuing to operationalise LAMP across the city.

As a point of note – LAMP is fully functional across Lancashire. Discussions are taking place this week (w/c 25.01.21) to identify how lessons learned from Lancashire can be shared.

Lateral flow devices will continue to be used until LAMP is fully deployed.

Two resilience stocks of Lateral Flow are available for as an emergency stock for C&M, across and are available for both healthcare and Places.


Commercial Testing (Pillar 2)

Pillar 2 Testing Capacity: Average testing utilisation is hovering around 48% across the region

DHSC has confirmed that the confirmatory PCR test following a positive Lateral Flow test, will be suspended for community testing, effective from 27th January 2021. Under the new system, a positive LF test result will trigger the legal duty to self-isolate, eligibility for support payments and contact tracing for those who do not report their own LF test. Follow-up PCR testing will still be performed for some cases, for reasons including vaccine effectiveness surveillance, and genome sequencing, and monitoring the accuracy of new LF tests in real-life settings. NHS and adult social care staff will continue to have confirmatory PCR.  For schools, the current DfE policy is that LF testing for primary school teachers is through home testing and for secondary school teachers testing occurs at school. This change will result in primary school teachers needing confirmatory PCR (as they self-administer) but not secondary school teachers. This is not intended to be a long-term arrangement. There is ongoing work on a ‘steady state’ solution with the reintroduction of confirmatory PCR testing, as the prevalence falls.

Regional Testing Centres (RTCs):  The total number of tests undertaken at the RTCs for the period 18th – 24th January is 8,328 (source: Regional Dashboard)

Satellite Testing Centres (STCs):    The total number of swabs taken at our three STCs for the period 18th – 24th January is 167 (source: Regional Dashboard)

Mobile Testing Sites (MTU): MTUs will be used to support St Helens whilst the location of its replacement LTS is finalised, the initial deployment commencing 29th January.  The regional reserve unit has been deployed to Greater Manchester for all of February and therefore will not be available to C&M.  Since the delivery of the MTU for Halton, no firm updates have been given on the rollout of the rest of the updated MTU fleet.  In addition to the 11-12 vehicles allocated for C&M, another 8 will be provided to the North West as part of surge capacity planning.  We are waiting for information from DHSC advising us of the dates when we will receive delivery. DHSC has started to roll out Airtable, a new web based software package for tracking deployment of MTUs. Security access restrictions mean that this will now not be made routinely accessible to colleagues across C&M.

Local Testing Sites (LTSs): 18,768 tests were carried out by LTSs between 18th and 24th January 2021.  The region will have 24 live LTSs as of 28th January when the lease ends on the St Helens site.  A potential replacement site has been identified and work is ongoing to assess its suitability.  The deployment of the second Warrington LTS progresses and it is hoped that it will be operational in the next 1-2 weeks.  Work also continues on establishing a LTS in the Calderstones area of Liverpool.  A discussion is taking place this week (w/c 25th January 2021) with colleagues from DHSC with regards a detailed breakdown of utilisation of Local Testing Sites. It is hoped that this detailed breakdown will provide Places with information enabling


Systematic, Meaningful, Asymptomatic, Repeated Testing (SMART) Programme

SMART Testing key messages during lockdown remain the same, that people should “Stay at Home” unless they are and essential worker of paid/unpaid carer.


Asymptomatic Testing

Confirmatory PCR testing will temporarily no longer be mandatory for asymptomatic testing of the general public in England from 07:20 on 27th January 2021, for at least 2 months. This is due to the high prevalence of the virus in the tested population. The current prevalence rate is above 1% (and is expected to remain for at least 2 months), the performance of Innova LFDs and PCRs is broadly comparable when the prevalence is above 1%.

The LAMP Laboratory at LCL is now live and operational. We are undertaking a phased rollout across Trusts, which commenced with LUFT last week for their patient facing staff. We are also in discussions with all other Acute and Specialist Trusts across C&M in preparation to plug in these Trusts, commencing mid-February.


Performance Data

Pillar 1 Test Data: The data this week covers the period 18th – 24th January 2021, 22,014 tests have been completed (2,507 staff and 19,507 patients).

Pillar 2 Test Data:  For period 18th – 24th January 2021, a total of 47,530 Pillar 2 tests were undertaken.


MTU Deployments

Click here to see the latest MTU deployment table. This is subject to change based on testing response required of outbreaks.