Covid-19 Testing

Pillar 1 Testing: Swab testing in PHE labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers

LAMP/Amplitude Testing:

  • LAMP has gone live currently testing 200 samples per day.
  • There has been some local push-back from NHS Trusts regarding the shift from Lateral Flow to LAMP for staff testing. The network needs to recognise that a mixed economy is not sensible (i.e. LFD and LAMP in one Trust) and the original strategy of pushing for all Trusts to adopt LAMP is being pursued.
  • Three Trusts are going-live with LAMP w/c February 15th: Warrington & Halton, Liverpool Heart & Chest, and the Walton Centre.
  • Notwithstanding the completion of validation & verification of the Amplitude assay, its’ rollout has been delayed “until further notice” by DHSC. This does not impact current, expected and planned for capacity of existing assays but could impact future, additional capacity. Discussions with DHSC are on-going.

Rapid testing – Abbot ID Now:

  • NHSE/I has offered additional Abbott ID Now platforms to C&M. A couple of Labs have expressed interest in pursuing this further.

South African Variant:

  • Testing for the SA Variant has been extended from the PR9 into the PR8 postcode as a consequence of new cases being identified. The collected tests are still being kept separate from other testing and sent to the Sangar lab (Milton Keynes) to enable genomic sequencing.

Pillar 2: Swab testing for the wider population, as set out in government guidance

Local Testing Sites (LTSs):

  • 12,720 tests were carried out by LTSs from 1st – 7th February 2021.  The St Helens LTS at Fairclough Street is now stood up and fully operational.  The deployment of the second Warrington LTS at Birchwood continues to wait for the final agreement by the site landlord, and the LA is working to secure this.

Mobile Testing Sites (MTU):

  • C&M continues to support Sefton Council during Operation Eagle.  The area of operation for surge testing was originally identified as 7 Lower Output Areas within the Norwood ward/PR9 postcode.  The area has since expanded to take in Dukes and Cambridge Wards and now includes the PR8 postcode.  MTUs have been deployed to the former Kew Park & Ride site and the Floral Hall Pavilion car park in Southport utilising both redeployed vehicles from C&M and Strategic Reserve, with the deployment planned to continue until 17th February.  MTU testing is supported by Home Test Kits distributed by council staff from Sefton and other LAs under mutual aid arrangements.

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

Asymptomatic Testing:

  • The Community Testing Programme has been formally launched within our Cheshire Local Authorities and their plans submitted to DHSC. This unlocks the funding for local authorities to bolster their asymptomatic testing for local communities. Many of the plans feature key works of innovation that we hope to update on the progress of in our future briefings.
  • Conversations are still ongoing in regards to Liverpool City Region’s transition to the Community testing programme and the timescales for this given that they already have a pre-existing agreement with DHSC regarding SMART Testing
  • The LAMP Laboratory at LCL is continuing to ramp up in preparation for the on boarding of additional NHS Acute and Specialist Trust rollouts over the next few weeks. LAMP delivers many benefits for regular testing of our NHS Acute front line services, notably:
    • Reporting – the laboratory covers the national reporting requirements, removing the need for trusts to submit daily/weekly reports. Also the data accuracy is increased when moving to the LAMP testing method.
    • Reduced Staff workload – LFT takes 30 minutes to complete (2 x week), requiring staff members to conduct the test on themselves. LAMP with reduce the extra burden down to just providing a saliva sample and registering online for the test (Approx. 5 min, once a week).
    • Less invasive – LAMP is a saliva based test and does not require a nasal swab, it also does not require a PCR test to confirm, reducing the burden on additional testing services.
  • LAMP continues to rollout in Liverpool University Hospitals, which is the first Trust in C&M to access the service. The uptake has been steady so far, we are processing around 1,000-1,200 tests per week through the service. Early feedback from the staff shows that they prefer the process to lateral flow testing and LUFT have seen an increase in asymptomatic testing take up
  • Plans are underway to ‘plug in’ the remainder of C&M Acute and specialist Trusts into the laboratory commencing next week through to March.

Performance Data

  • Pillar 1 Test Data: The data this week covers the period 01-07 February 2021, 21,677 tests have been completed (2,166 staff and 19,511 patients).
  • Pillar 2 Test Data:  For period 01-07 February 2021,, a total 40,536 Pillar 2 tests were undertaken.

MTU Deployments

Click here to view the latest MTU deployment schedule. Please note this is subject to change based on testing response required of outbreaks.