Testing (Pillar 1)

Operation Eagle: this has completed successfully and has been stood down across the outbreak postcodes of PR8 and PR9. Sefton Council has achieved remarkable outcomes in a very short period of time; engaging with, influencing, and mobilising colleagues from across the region to support in its’ efforts, and clarifying and coordinating messages to ensure that the local population engaged with the process.

NHS Labs: available testing capacity across C&M for Pillar 1 remains at circa 48%. NHS England & Innovation has asked the labs to investigate how they can respond to a growing demand from Independent Sector Providers with regards to processing LFD and PCR tests for specifically, NHS patients under ISP care. The logistics of managing tests sourced from a number of different locations is perceived as being potentially more problematic than the actual volume of tests being undertaken. NHS labs are exploring how this request from NHSE&I can be managed.

Abbott ID Now (update): NHS England & Improvement are ready to place the orders for Abbott ID Now for those organisations that have expressed an interest and have been accepted as getting these.

Pillar 2 Highlights

Local Testing Sites (LTSs): The deployment of the second Warrington LTS at Birchwood has been delayed further, with the Local Authority still waiting to receive the final agreement by the site landlord.

Mobile Testing Sites (MTU): C&M Operation Eagle, the surge testing for South African variant of Covid19 by Sefton Council, concluded on Monday 22nd February. The extent of the deployment included four MTUs working from two sites at Southport Floral Hall and Kew Park & Ride to maintain 08:00 – 18:30 operation seven days a week, and required Strategic Reserve to be deployed in support of local units.

C&M now has 11 MTUs available to support symptomatic testing, with one vehicle allocated to each Local Authority and two retained as reserve vehicles. A 12th vehicle is expected to be delivered imminently, along with a further eight vehicles allocated regionally for surge testing that will arrive in due course. The increased resources will strengthen C&M’s ability to support any future Operation Eagle requirements whilst maintaining business as usual testing. High winds on Tuesday 23rd February caused a number of MTUs to be closed for walk-in testing, although drive-through testing continued.

Asymptomatic Testing:

There has been an indication that the Community Testing Programme will be extended to June and cover Local Authorities nationally as this will be critical in terms of managing the spread of asymptomatic transmission of Covid whilst we are still rolling out the vaccine programme as lockdown measures ease. As such, there is a continued drive for Local Authorities to establish Asymptomatic Testing sites, as per their strategies to manage the R rate in their local communities.

On 25th February DHSC held a webinar to introduce the new ‘Community Collect’ model which will see the ability for school ‘bubbles’ to pick up lateral flow kits for self-testing at home as part of the Community Testing Programme. We have been informed this is likely to be implemented in March, initially through the online gov.uk website to order LFT test kits and also through pick-ups at key locations (likely LTS/RTS’s initially).

In terms of national rollouts of asymptomatic testing; the Department for Education working with Directors of Children’s Services to discuss the testing approach for schools returning on the 8th March. We have also been informed that independent sector staff to access Lateral Flow Test kits and rollout for this is underway.

LAMP  Testing:

The LAMP Laboratory at LCL continues to ramp up. Demand in the laboratory is increasing and this week we on boarded a further four Trusts. This week we hit a milestone of 500 tests analysed in 1 day. If demand continues to grow at the current rate, we expect to hit our next milestone of 1,000 tests analysed within a day early next week.

The Trusts now live with LAMP and using this to test their patient facing workforce asymptomatically on a weekly basis are: Liverpool University Foundation Trust, Liverpool Heart and Chest, Southport and Ormskirk o St Helens and Knowsley, Countess of Chester, and Alder Hey

Early feedback from the staff has been positive, indicating that the test and process are working well. With many staff having a preference of using the LAMP test given its less invasive nature.

Plans are underway to ‘plug in’ the remainder of C&M Acute and specialist Trusts into the laboratory commencing next week through to March.