Almost 70 coronavirus cases in Harrogate were missed due to an IT error - here’s what happened

Almost 70 new coronavirus cases went unreported in Harrogate after a technical error delayed Track and Trace staff from getting in touch with the contacts of those who tested positive, it has been revealed.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 3:30 pm
Updated Monday, 5th October 2020, 3:34 pm

The glitch meant that nearly 16,000 positive cases between September 25 and October 2 were not included in the UK daily figures.

The error was caused by some data files reporting positive test results exceeding the maximum file size, Public Health England (PHE) said.

After discovering the issue on Friday night, 67 cases were added to Harrogate's total which now stands at 1,161 since the pandemic began.

Almost 70 new coronavirus cases went unreported in Harrogate after a technical error. Photo: Gerard Binks.

PHE said all those who tested positive had been informed - but it means others in close contact with them were not.

In response to the error, Michael Brodie, interim chief executive of PHE, said the majority of the unreported cases had occurred in the "most recent days".

Mr Brodie said they worked with NHS Test and Trace to "quickly resolve the issue and transferred all outstanding cases immediately into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system".

"We fully understand the concern this may cause and further robust measures have been put in place as a result," he said.

Meanwhile, a mobile coronavirus testing facility will return to the Dragon Road Car Park in Harrogate tomorrow (October 6).

It has been organised by the Department of Health and Social Care which has warned people to not just turn up but make an appointment first.

There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of.

Anyone who is showing coronavirus symptoms should register for a test on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

People who do not have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the 119 service to book.

Key workers and members of their household should register for a test on the government website.

Tests can be booked at www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter