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Covid lab returned four positive results from 2,400 Sheffield tests

The laboratory at the centre of the Covid testing fiasco returned just four positive results out of more than 2,400 tests sent to it from one city, the Guardian has learned, raising questions about why it was not discovered sooner.

The positivity rate of just 0.2% from Sheffield tests sent to the Wolverhampton lab run by Immensa contrasts sharply with the national rate of about 5-8% at the time of the scandal.

Data released under freedom of information laws by Sheffield city council showed there were four positive results, 2,391 negative and 13 void results processed by the lab from 1 September until it was suspended in mid-October.

The disclosure also shows the scandal covers local authorities as far away from Wolverhampton as Yorkshire, with the UK Health Security Agency refusing to disclose which areas are affected beyond saying they are mostly in south-west England.

One expert suggested there should have been about 200 positive results based on prevalence figures from the time. Kit Yates, a senior lecturer in mathematics at Bath University, said the country needed to see a full list of all the walk-in/drive in centres that were affected.

“It’s all well and good notifying those people who were tested, but because of the nature of this communicable disease, this scandal now reaches well beyond those people,” he said. “The public deserve to know if their area was affected.”

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Source: The Guardian, 27 October 2021


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