To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2021 to Question 126867 on Coronavirus: Newcastle upon Tyne, what the evidential basis is for deciding an incident has taken place in a setting; and to what extent an incident reflects the likelihood of transmission having occurred.
22 February 2021
There are epidemiological definitions for COVID-19 outbreaks and clusters in particular settings, such as domestic or institutional settings. The definitions are used to inform local alerts and action and to provide consistency in local responses. The definitions are available at the following link:
Information on possible clusters is reported daily to local authorities and Public Health England Health Protection Teams to undertake a risk assessment to determine the likelihood of transmission having occurred at the postcode setting for the alert. A locally led outbreak investigation will gather data and information to determine whether controls measures are required to mitigate the risk of transmission at that setting. These investigations include consideration of gathering further data and evidence to assess how transmission may have occurred within the setting. In certain circumstances, an epidemiological study will be used to produce statistical measures of transmission such as the number of new cases among contacts of a case. Where community transmission rates are high, individuals may have been exposed through a number of different ways, making it difficult to say with certainty that specific settings are associated with transmission.