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An extra 11,000 positive Covid tests in Wales have not yet been counted in the official figures because a computer system was down for maintenance, it has emerged.
The anomaly means the number of cases for the week up to 15 December is likely to be about double what had originally been thought.
Opposition politicians in Wales expressed deep concern, with one calling the news “staggering”.
The situation emerged after the Welsh government announced on Wednesday that the number of cases was so alarming that the country was to go into another lockdown. It is not yet clear whether the government was aware of the computer problem when it made the decision.
Currently, recorded figures for the the week of 9-15 December stand at 11,911. But Public Health Wales (PHW) said the 11,000 cases were missed because of “planned maintenance” of IT systems.
A total of 103,098 people have tested positive in Wales since the Covid crisis began, meaning the 11,000 extra positives – which will be added PHW figures from Thursday – will represent roughly one-tenth of the new total.
The additional 11,000 cases would mean recent cases of the virus are twice as high as previously thought.
PHW said the missing results were from tests carried out by the lighthouse laboratories, which were set up to help tackle the Covid crisis.
It said the problem was related to the maintenance of the NHS Welsh Laboratory Information Management System.
A spokesperson said: “This took place on Friday and Saturday (11-12 December) so that essential service upgrades could take place. This means that we expect a backlog of results to come through over the coming days, and there will be a period of data reconciliation and validation that will affect our daily reporting figures for several days.
“[Thursday’s] figures and those over the following days will be higher as a result of the backlog coming through. Across Wales, [on Thursday] we will be reporting in the region of 11,000 new positive cases. Full breakdown by local regions is currently being analysed and will be available in [Thursday’s] dashboard update.
“We stress this has not affected individuals receiving their results, and anyone who tests positive will be contacted by their local authority’s test, trace, protect team in the usual way. Interim data was shared with stakeholders.”
The Plaid Cymru health spokesman, Rhun ap Iorwerth, told the BBC: “With positive cases in Wales rising to record levels, it is crucial that the reporting of data is both timely and robust.
“The public need a complete and current picture of the situation to realise the gravity of what we are facing. We need urgent reassurance that the failings have been addressed.”
The Welsh Conservative party politician Andrew RT Davies, the shadow health minister, called the situation “staggering”.
In October, it emerged that nearly 16,000 coronavirus cases went unreported in England with Public Health England blaming an IT error.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: 11,000 positive Covid tests missing from Wales data after IT problem | Coronavirus