Publication - Statistics

Coronavirus (COVID-19) data: definitions and sources

Published: 29 Apr 2020

Explanatory definitions and notes providing information on the contents and terminology used in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) daily data publication.

Published:
29 Apr 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) data: definitions and sources

COVID 19 data: Background information

Measure

Sources, methods and things to note

Number of tests, number of people tested and number with positive and negative tests reported through NHS labs

These results are based on information received into the Health Protection Scotland ECOSS system reported to HPS by the laboratories in the 24 hours from 08:00 to 08:00 each day. Data reported for a particular date will therefore mostly refer to the previous day.

Number of tests is total number of tests carried out and may include more than one test on an individual. Number of people tested refers to the total number of people who have been tested for COVID-19. Each person is only counted once regardless of repeat tests. The results also refer to the number of individuals who have had a positive or negative test result.  

Number of tests carried out through Regional Testing Centres The number of tests carried out through the Regional Testing Centres (RTCs) as part of the expanded UK Government testing programme, and reported through Department of Health and Social Care based on data from the contractors who operate the centres. This includes tests done at the drive through centres and mobile units, but not home testing kits. Results from these tests are not yet available separately for Scotland so are not currently included in the number of positive cases.
Number of key workers tested This data is submitted as management information by NHS Boards to Public Health Scotland and intends to capture the number of key workers who are being tested through NHS Laboratories. The data does not include key workers or symptomatic family members who have been tested through regional testing centres and mobile units that operate through the UK expanded testing programme. The data does not include home testing. The data does not include home testing. This management information does not include test results, but as the tests are conducted through NHS Laboratories the results will be included in the reported totals of number positive and negative but cannot be separately identified from this data source.
Number of people who have died with confirmed COVID-19

These are data reported by Health Protection Scotland. They include deaths which have been  registered with NRS, and also have had a laboratory confirmed report of COVID-19 in the 28 days prior to death. This is a cumulative total of deaths since the start of the pandemic in Scotland.

The daily total refers to the number of new deaths registered with NRS which link to laboratory data for COVID-19 since the last available NRS data.  These data include all deaths in individuals with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 in Scotland and therefore includes deaths in hospitals, care homes and the community.

This daily number of new deaths registered since the last available NRS data does not signify that this was their date of death, owing to the time allowed for families to register deaths in Scotland.

For more information about how the daily deaths data are collected please see Process for reporting daily COVID-19 deaths.

The difference between this daily measure and the data from NRS that also includes any death where COVID-19 is suspected is explained in the NRS weekly publication, available here: https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/covid19stats

Number of patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU) with COVID-19

NHS Boards provide Scottish Government with management information on the numbers of patients in ICU with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 at midnight – this is intended to provide information on patients receiving ICU level 3 care. A small number of NHS Boards have some combined ICU/HDU units and provide information on those units. NHS Tayside had included a standalone HDU in returns before 7 April, these are no longer reported in the figures. The Scottish Government will continue to assess the potential data sources available on COVID-19 patients in receipt of level 3 care.

 

Number of patients in hospital with confirmed COVID-19

 

Number of patients in hospital with suspected COVID-19

NHS Boards provide Scottish Government with daily management information on the numbers of patients in acute hospitals beds with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 at midnight. This includes all patients in hospital, including in intensive care.

NHS Boards started to provide data on the breakdown of suspected and confirmed hospital and ICU patients on 26th March 2020 with all Boards providing this breakdown from 27th March.

From 29th April, NHS Boards started testing all patients aged over 70 on admission to hospital, which has led to a discontinuity in the data series for number of people in hospital with suspected COVID-19.

From 5th May onwards numbers of confirmed and suspected cases in hospital is being published separately rather than as the total confirmed or suspected. SG will continue to monitor the methodology and data being provided by NHS Boards on suspected covid-19 cases.

Number of inpatients discharged with confirmed COVID-19

NHS Boards provide Scottish Government with aggregate Management Information on cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients that have been discharged.  A single figure counted since 5th March 2020 is provided each day by each Health Board. This counts discharges from hospital where patients are alive, and have had a positive COVID-19 lab test in the 28 days in the run up to discharge. Patient transfers to hospitals within/across health boards are excluded.

Number of calls to 111

This data is provided by NHS24 on a daily basis.  The public are asked to call 111 if they have worsening COVID-19 symptoms which they are concerned about, or their symptoms aren’t improving.  They should also call 111 if they have concerns about other conditions and their GP practice is closed – because of this call volumes may be higher at the weekend when practices are closed.  The number of calls to 111 presented in this publication includes all calls to this line, whether or not they relate to COVID-19.  It includes calls trying to contact (abandoned) and people calling back more than once a day.

Number of calls to the Coronavirus helpline

This data is provided by NHS24 on a daily basis.

The Coronavirus helpline 0800 028 2816 is free and available to members of the public who don't have symptoms and are looking for general information.

 

Total ambulance attendances and those with suspected COVID-19

This data is provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service on a daily basis. The number of attendances is defined as the number of incidents recorded by SAS, where a resource arrived at the scene.  The number of attendances with suspected coronavirus is defined as the number of suspected Covid-19 incidents flagged by SAS, where a resource arrived at scene.

Number of people taken to hospital by ambulance with suspected COVID-19

This data is provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service on a daily basis. The number of people they took to hospital with suspected coronavirus is defined as the number of suspected Covid-19 incidents flagged by SAS, where a resource arrived scene and patient conveyed to hospital.

Number of delayed discharges

The number of people delayed in hospital are reported by Health and Social Care Partnerships every Monday to Friday. The data provided here is the best available at this point in time, but may be subject to further minor updates following quality assurance checks. Public Health Scotland also publish validated monthly delayed discharge data, released around 5 weeks after the end of the month.

Cumulative number of care homes that have reported a suspected COVID-19 case

 

Proportion of all adult care homes that have reported a suspected COVID-19 case

 

Cumulative number of care homes that have reported more than one case of suspected COVID-19

 

Cumulative number of suspected COVID-19 cases in care homes

 

Daily number of new suspected COVID-19 cases in care homes

This data is provided by the Care Inspectorate, who are notified of suspected COVID-19 cases by service providers.

Cases are self-reported by care providers and should be considered suspected COVID-19. Some cases may subsequently have a formal positive test, other cases after testing may prove not to be COVID-19 and some cases will not be tested

It is possible not all cases have been reported by all care homes, or there may be a delay in reporting.

All data is based on the date notified to the Care Inspectorate rather than the date of the event, and there may be a lag between these dates. Larger increases tend to occur the first few days of the week  as many care homes do not report over the weekend.

Some care homes were only notifying the Care Inspectorate of the first cases of suspected COVID-19 and therefore may be under reporting the number of cases. On the 17th April 2020, the Care Inspectorate asked care homes to notify every suspected case going forward. Caution is therefore required when considering trends over time.

It is important to note that not all of these care homes will still have outbreaks; see the number that that currently have outbreaks.

 

Number of care homes with current case of suspected COVID-19

 

Proportion of all adult care homes with current case of suspected COVID-19

A case is no longer considered active where a person has not exhibited symptoms for 14 days as per Health Protection Scotland advice.

If no care home residents have exhibited any symptoms for 14 days then this care home is considered to have no current suspected cases.

Data on current suspected cases is available from at  21/04/20.

For services with current suspected cases on 21/04/20, any care home that has notified the Care Inspectorate of a suspected case in the last 14 days has been counted as having a current suspected case. All care homes that have not yet notified the Care Inspectorate of any cases are assumed to have no cases. In addition, care homes who notified the Care Inspectorate of a suspected case at some point but have not reported any further cases in the past 14 days have been contacted by inspectors on the 21/04/20 to record whether the care home still has a current suspected case.

From 22/04/20 onwards, the Care Inspectorate have set-up a new notification for care homes to report when they no longer have a suspected case in their service. This mechanism will used for reporting going forward.

Cases are self-reported by care providers and should be considered suspected COVID-19. Some cases may subsequently have a formal positive test, other cases after testing may prove not to be COVID-19 and some cases will not be tested

It is possible not all cases have been reported by all care homes, or there may be a delay in reporting.

All data is based on the date notified to the Care Inspectorate rather than the date of the event, and there may be a lag between these dates. Larger increases tend to occur the first few days of the week  as many care homes do not report over the weekend.

Number of deaths of health and social care workers related to COVID-19 Health Boards and the Care Inspectorate notify the Scottish Government of those in the health and social care workforce who have died for reasons related to COVID-19. The cumulative totals are published each Wednesday. The figures include those who may not have been at work for some time e.g. those ‘shielding’ at home. Even for those at work, it cannot be determined with certainty where COVID-19 was acquired. The notification of deaths by Health Boards and the Care Inspectorate is according to the information they have at the time – they may not have full details of each death available. The figures will exclude any deaths where they were unaware that this may have been due to COVID-19.
Number of NHS staff absent for COVID-19 related reasons

This data is provided each day by NHS National Services Scotland on behalf of 21 NHS Boards, and by the Scottish Ambulance Service separately. It covers hospitals and community health services, and excludes those working in general practice. All staff-in-post are included – both those on the frontline and those who may not have patient contact.

Accuracy and completeness is dependent on staff who directly deliver patient services, and administrators, inputting absence data into the NHS Scotland national time and attendance system (SSTS). The figures cover all staff recorded as absent on the system, irrespective of whether they were due to be at work on that particular day.

Recording processes vary between Boards and service areas. In particular, the timing of absence recording will vary, and some absences may not be recorded timeously. We will consider whether it is necessary to update the data for previous days where there is a material change in the reported absence due to a delay in recording. We understand that services are under high pressure, and therefore data will be monitored closely. If necessary, publishing of staff absence data may need to be amended or delayed.

In contrast to the data for adult care homes, stress related to COVID-19 would be recorded as sick leave, and not included here.
Number of staff absent in adult care homes due to COVID-19

This data is reported by care homes to the Care Inspectorate on a weekly basis, via a survey made available each Tuesday, from 21 April 2020. The data only includes survey forms submitted that day.

Reasons for absences related to COVID-19 include those self-isolating, shielding, stress related to COVID-19, at home with symptoms of COVID-19, at home with confirmed (by test) COVID-19, in hospital with symptoms of COVID-19 and in hospital with confirmed (by test) COVID-19.

The data covers all staff recorded as absent on the system, irrespective of whether they were due to be at work on that particular day.