A SENIOR Welsh health boss has explained why locations specified in the daily coronavirus figures released by Public Health Wales are not more specific.
Every day since the coronavirus pandemic began Public Health Wales has released figures showing how many new infections and deaths connected with the disease have been confirmed in each of Wales’ 22 local authority areas.
However, the organisation has been criticised for not providing more geographically-specific data – especially considering far more localised data is available in England.
Some of Wales’ local authorities are geographically very large – so some have said the information is not helpful for gaining a full understanding of the scale of the problem.
While Public Health Wales does provide the Welsh government and councils with more specific information, it has been reported that the organisation does not have the resources to present this information in a manner appropriate for public consumption.
The body has said it is developing a new map which will give more local information. While a date has not been confirmed, it is hoped this will be done in the coming weeks.
Public Health Wales’ incident director for the outbreak Dr Giri Shankar explained: “The surveillance team produces timely and accurate reports which can be easily interpreted by incident management teams, local authorities, health boards and Welsh Government – and the data is used to make decisions quickly.
“The demand placed on our surveillance team has grown considerably throughout the pandemic.
“While there are technical reasons why we refrain from producing sub-local reports, in general, the more granular the data is, the less valid the results will be.
“Where there are a low number of cases in a given locality, publishing this data could have an unintended consequences of risk of deductive disclosure, or put simply, individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 may be identifiable.
“Our intention is to develop Middle Super Output Area maps which will give more local information.
“At the moment, however, we are prioritising reports to local authority and health board Incident Management Teams to inform their local decision making.”
In the last week councils across Wales – including Monmouthshire council – have begun publishing their own localised data online to better inform residents.