This surveillance includes data from a range of sources.
Information from the community
We are working with NHS boards to collect clinical information and test nose/throat swabbing or blood samples from people in the community across Scotland every day, who have a mild or moderate illness and remain unwell at home. This will allow us to monitor how much illness within the community is due to COVID-19. Those who have submitted a swab will have access to their results and advice from healthcare professionals.
NHS24, primary care triage hubs and clinical assessment centres all have regular contact with a large group of people who fall into the definition of a case. We will investigate data from NHS 24 and data from primary care hubs to provide a better picture of community transmission.
We are gathering and monitoring information on how COVID-19 is affecting people in educational settings, including both children and young people, and the education workforce. This includes using information gathered through other components of the enhanced surveillance programme, as well as specific approaches, such as antibody testing of educational staff.
On a weekly basis we will test blood samples from biochemistry laboratories across Scotland, that were originally submitted from primary care such as GPs, to determine the amount of antibodies to SARS CoV-2 in the general population. This will inform us about how much the population has been exposed to the virus, irrespective of whether a person has had symptoms or not. Such information is critical to see how the pandemic is progressing and will assist Scottish Government on how to process with the national response.
It is important to capture individuals in the community who have not sought medical advice that either:
- haven’t had symptoms yet but are in early stages of illness
- have symptoms but don’t want to bother services
- have no symptoms at all despite having the virus
We are assessing whether it is helpful to use smartphone apps to monitor symptoms in this population.
Information that comes from both the community and hospital
Integrated Monitoring of Vaccines in Europe (IMOVE)-COVID-19
We are working with colleagues across Europe to better understand the presentation of COVID-19 and the severity of its impact. The IMOVE-COVID-19 project brings together public health and academic investigators to assist in this process. This EU funded project aims to obtain epidemiological and clinical information on patients with COVID-19 as well as detailed information on the virus itself with the help of general practice and hospital surveillance.
COVID-19 – Clinical Information Network
We are working to support the analysis and sharing of the output from the UK COVID-19 Clinical Information Network (CO-CIN). This study has been approved across the UK and receives Scottish data from hospitalised patients. This information summarises the patient’s hospital journey with the illness and outcome for the patient. We are working in partnership with academic researchers from the University of Edinburgh (UoE) to deliver this important project on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer.
Current information on patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU) provides important performance and ventilator usage data. We are looking to gather further information on oxygen usage as well as potential risk factors for morbidity and mortality.
Information on deaths either in the community or in hospital
We currently issue a daily report on National Records of Scotland (NRS) all-cause death data which are linked to PHS laboratory data from the Electronic Communication of Surveillance in Scotland (ECOSS) system to identify those who died and are laboratory confirmed with SARS-CoV-2. This is the data we provide to Scottish Government daily, which is published each day.
We are working on further enhancement of this data and will provide updates on this as this develops.
Current initiative under development
Pandemic Influenza Severity Assessment indicator development
Pandemic Influenza Severity Assessment (PISA) was developed by WHO to assess severity of influenza during epidemics and is being adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic. HPS is working with the WHO to refine this approach for COVID-19.