Covid testing capacity

Covid-19 discussion, bring your own statistics
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Woodchopper
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Covid testing capacity

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Dec 15, 2021 5:55 pm

Two articles from the last few days

COVID-19: Rapid lateral flow home testing kits have run out on government's website
Daily testing for anyone double-jabbed who comes into contact with a COVID-19 case is due to start from Tuesday.
https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-hom ... e-12494810

Covid-19: High demand blamed for shortage of PCR appointments in England
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-59651166


There will probably be a lot more problems getting tested in the weeks to come. One thing that won’t grow exponentially is testing capacity.

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by lpm » Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:00 pm

?

It's just linear vs exponential. We know how this goes.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:30 pm

lpm wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:00 pm
?

It's just linear vs exponential. We know how this goes.
We do.

But it seems like it’ll be a big issue. So I started the thread.

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by lpm » Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:50 pm

Meh. We were blind in April 2020, we're amazingly far ahead of that situation, even if there's no possible way to test enough.

What really matters is linear nurses vs exponential. We know how that one goes as well, even if the nurses line stays constant and doesn't decline with infections/isolation.

Chris Whitty basically said we're f.cked. That might not come across in summaries of today's press conference, because it was more between the lines and deliberate contrast to our beloved Prime Minister. He said there was a really serious threat to hospitals and at one point said the outlook for healthcare professionals was "pretty depressing".

Dr Nikki Kanani of NHS England said she'd cancelled her own Christmas and said something like "I apologise to my children but it ain't happening".

Testing isn't going to be a problem, because there will be plenty of tests for actual ill health. We shouldn't be wasting tests on the "I better test myself before heading to the pub" nonsense though. Save the laterals for when you feel ill, folks.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Grumble » Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:22 pm

lpm wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:50 pm
Meh. We were blind in April 2020, we're amazingly far ahead of that situation, even if there's no possible way to test enough.

What really matters is linear nurses vs exponential. We know how that one goes as well, even if the nurses line stays constant and doesn't decline with infections/isolation.

Chris Whitty basically said we're f.cked. That might not come across in summaries of today's press conference, because it was more between the lines and deliberate contrast to our beloved Prime Minister. He said there was a really serious threat to hospitals and at one point said the outlook for healthcare professionals was "pretty depressing".

Dr Nikki Kanani of NHS England said she'd cancelled her own Christmas and said something like "I apologise to my children but it ain't happening".

Testing isn't going to be a problem, because there will be plenty of tests for actual ill health. We shouldn't be wasting tests on the "I better test myself before heading to the pub" nonsense though. Save the laterals for when you feel ill, folks.
Surely the laterals are precisely for when you don’t feel ill? PCR for when you’re ill, if you can get an appointment.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:38 pm

lpm wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:50 pm
Meh. We were blind in April 2020, we're amazingly far ahead of that situation, even if there's no possible way to test enough.

What really matters is linear nurses vs exponential. We know how that one goes as well, even if the nurses line stays constant and doesn't decline with infections/isolation.

Chris Whitty basically said we're f.cked. That might not come across in summaries of today's press conference, because it was more between the lines and deliberate contrast to our beloved Prime Minister. He said there was a really serious threat to hospitals and at one point said the outlook for healthcare professionals was "pretty depressing".

Dr Nikki Kanani of NHS England said she'd cancelled her own Christmas and said something like "I apologise to my children but it ain't happening".

Testing isn't going to be a problem, because there will be plenty of tests for actual ill health. We shouldn't be wasting tests on the "I better test myself before heading to the pub" nonsense though. Save the laterals for when you feel ill, folks.
I agree that personnel is a far bigger problem.

But we're allowed to start threads on smaller problems.

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by bob sterman » Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:52 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:38 pm
I agree that personnel is a far bigger problem.
We could have so many cases that it might even start to make sense for COVID positive (but asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic) people to go to work in COVID positive bubbles.

E.g. "The 10:48 to Doncaster is a COVID positive service - please do not board the train unless you can show evidence of a postive lateral flow test".

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by raven » Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:04 am

Grumble wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:22 pm
lpm wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:50 pm
[...}
Testing isn't going to be a problem, because there will be plenty of tests for actual ill health. We shouldn't be wasting tests on the "I better test myself before heading to the pub" nonsense though. Save the laterals for when you feel ill, folks.
Surely the laterals are precisely for when you don’t feel ill? PCR for when you’re ill, if you can get an appointment.
PCR is for ill with fever/cough/loss of smell. Not anything else. (Even though there's other symptoms, especially in kids.)

So when my nephew had a headache & was feeling sick yesterday, technically he couldn't have done a PCR. But as a couple of classmates had just tested positive, my sister did an LFT. Only after that turned out positive* could they go for a PCR.

Well, I suppose they could've gone for one if they'd lied about his symptoms...

(*The LFT wasn't positive within the 30 minutes. She hadn't thrown it out because she was busy cleaning up after sick kid, & she noticed about an hour later it had a faint line. PCR confirmed it.)

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Dec 16, 2021 10:12 pm

England has only ~4-5 days left before measuring R or growth rates or doubling time based on case data becomes meaningless as lab capacity gets maxed out.
May be soon time to remove confirmatory PCR after positive LFD requirements.

Although this would only buy another week or so, in absence of more stringent measures or change in test eligibility.

We will then rely on ONS & REACT seroprevalence surveys to understand prevalence.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Dec 16, 2021 10:38 pm

The pharmacies round here have all run out of lateral flow devices too. Apparently those "collect codes" from the NHS app are meaningless.

Still have one Portuguese one left. I guess after that I'll just embrace the covidocalypse.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Fishnut » Thu Dec 16, 2021 11:01 pm

This may have been addressed before but I've only been dipping in and out of the covid threads rather than reading them closely. But why are we doing PCR tests for positive LFTs? I thought the chances of a false-positive was very low (chances of false-negatives, on the other hand...) so why are we using two tests to confirm you have covid when one should suffice? From what I understand the catastrophe of the false-negative PCR tests came from people having positive LFTs and then negative PCRs so people figured they weren't infected. The south-west was only just starting to see a reduction in cases following that mess and now omicron's hit.

Why aren't positive LFTs enough to make people self-isolate? Or am I misunderstanding when you get a PCR test? I've become a very good hermit over the last couple of years and haven't had the need to find out how it all works.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by lpm » Thu Dec 16, 2021 11:12 pm

Yes, if you feel a bit ill, or if you live in a household with a positive test, then a positive LFT is more than sufficient proof.

I don't see the point of PCR when cases are this high.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by raven » Thu Dec 16, 2021 11:41 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Dec 16, 2021 11:01 pm
Why aren't positive LFTs enough to make people self-isolate? Or am I misunderstanding when you get a PCR test? I've become a very good hermit over the last couple of years and haven't had the need to find out how it all works.
I assume it's because you take LFTs at home, input the result to the government website, and get an email back that confirms what you told them. It's all self-reported, therefore fakeable, and not to be relied upon when it gives you access to governement money like that £500 you get if you're on a rock-bottom wage & can't afford to take time off otherwise.

Because the little people always lie when money is a motivation, the scroungers, or so Tory thinking goes.

Never mind that what actually happens is people don't bother testing at all if they can't afford to isolate, and that throwing all that furlough money at businesses without any checks was far more open to fraud.

ETA: It is possible, albeit unlikely, to get a false-positive on an LFT. Someone MrRaven knows had three positive LFTs at various points in the last year, and their PCRs came back negative every time.

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Lew Dolby » Fri Dec 17, 2021 10:12 am

but isn't it the case that certain foods or drinks shortly before an LFT can produce a false positive ?

Rumour round here is, kids drink orange juice immediately before an LFT to get a few days off school.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Grumble » Fri Dec 17, 2021 11:08 am

Lew Dolby wrote:
Fri Dec 17, 2021 10:12 am
but isn't it the case that certain foods or drinks shortly before an LFT can produce a false positive ?

Rumour round here is, kids drink orange juice immediately before an LFT to get a few days off school.
They certainly tell you not to eat or drink in the 30 minutes before taking one, presumably because it makes them unreliable, though in which direction I don’t know.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Dec 21, 2021 9:52 pm

Uk cases have been fairly flat for about five days. Which was unexpected. It could be due to changing behaviour. But perhaps it’s just the limit of testing capacity?

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by jimbob » Tue Dec 21, 2021 9:58 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Dec 21, 2021 9:52 pm
Uk cases have been fairly flat for about five days. Which was unexpected. It could be due to changing behaviour. But perhaps it’s just the limit of testing capacity?
The positivity rate is rising in England.

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by jimbob » Tue Dec 21, 2021 10:16 pm

Especially in London

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Dec 21, 2021 10:21 pm

All the pharmacies in Winchester have run out of lateral flows every day since the 10th, I can tell you that much. So I imagine the more casual tester would be put off, leaving only the probably-infected to wait in line for the next delivery.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by discovolante » Thu Dec 23, 2021 4:18 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Dec 21, 2021 10:21 pm
All the pharmacies in Winchester have run out of lateral flows every day since the 10th, I can tell you that much. So I imagine the more casual tester would be put off, leaving only the probably-infected to wait in line for the next delivery.
Just fyi I've been managing to get hold of lateral flow tests. Not always and it may depend on area but worth keeping an eye out online if you still need them. Maybe check first thing in the morning.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Dec 23, 2021 4:29 pm

discovolante wrote:
Thu Dec 23, 2021 4:18 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Dec 21, 2021 10:21 pm
All the pharmacies in Winchester have run out of lateral flows every day since the 10th, I can tell you that much. So I imagine the more casual tester would be put off, leaving only the probably-infected to wait in line for the next delivery.
Just fyi I've been managing to get hold of lateral flow tests. Not always and it may depend on area but worth keeping an eye out online if you still need them. Maybe check first thing in the morning.
Thanks! I managed to get some off some friends who'd been hoarding because they work in pubs.

Their pub is closed till after xmas now anyway coz they all got the rona.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Brightonian » Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:06 am

Illuminating Reddit post on testing chaos in Australia: https://www.reddit.com/r/CoronavirusDow ... thologies/

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Dec 27, 2021 2:03 pm

Well the home PCR tests we ordered on the 24th still haven't arrived. Royal Mail have cancelled delivery two days running, presumably because half their staff have covid too.

Assuming a similar faff to send it back we'll be out of isolation before we get confirmatory results.
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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by KAJ » Mon Dec 27, 2021 4:30 pm

Trying to order LFT tests for a friend in their 80's. I've tested positive so can't deliver.
Screenshot 2021-12-27 16.28.13.png
Screenshot 2021-12-27 16.28.13.png (38.4 KiB) Viewed 263 times

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Re: Covid testing capacity

Post by Gfamily » Mon Dec 27, 2021 4:37 pm

KAJ wrote:
Mon Dec 27, 2021 4:30 pm
Trying to order LFT tests for a friend in their 80's. I've tested positive so can't deliver.
Screenshot 2021-12-27 16.28.13.png
I've heard that they release a new daily allocation at midnight, though they can go very quickly, so might be worth trying immediately after.
Alternatively, call your local pharmacy and see if they have any that could be delivered.
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