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Publication, Part of

[MI] Tracking Healthcare Activity and Outcomes for Shielded Patients, England - up to 20 July 2020


Shielding is one of the government interventions aimed at reducing mortality from COVID-19. Those considered at highest clinical risk of mortality and severe morbidity from COVID-19 (defined as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) were identified to be on the Shielded Patient List (SPL).

These individuals were asked to stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks during the peak of the pandemic in the UK.

This publication considers data relating to emergency admissions, mortality and positive COVID-19 tests for a subset of patients on the English SPL compared with an age-matched sample of the general population.

The open data file includes the underlying counts and rates to allow for analysis, modelling and planning to take place to aid the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

What the data cannot show

This report does not evaluate the impact of shielding as it is not possible to reliably estimate what the emergency admission and mortality rates would have been if shielding had not been implemented.

All emergency admissions

Individuals on the SPL had higher rates of emergency admissions than those in the age-matched general population sample before the pandemic. This rate dropped sharply for both of these groups in April 2020.

An average of 1 in 600 people on the SPL were admitted per day in the week commencing 2nd March 2020 compared with a corresponding daily average of 1 in 2,400 for those in the general population sample.

By the week commencing 13th April 2020, daily emergency admissions had dropped sharply for both those on the SPL (by 46 per cent) and the general population sample (by 33 per cent).  

There was little change in the rate of daily emergency admissions for both those on the SPL and the age-matched general population sample in June 2020.

These figures include all emergency admissions, not just those related to COVID-19.

All-cause mortality

The mortality rate for individuals on the SPL peaked and started reducing sooner than for the age-matched general population sample.

The peak daily mortality rate for individuals on the SPL (1 in 2,500) was observed on 2nd April 2020, while the peak daily mortality rate for the general population sample (1 in 7,000) was observed on 12th April 2020.  

There was little change in the daily mortality rate for both those on the SPL and the age-matched general population sample in  June 2020.

These figures include all deaths, not just those related to COVID-19.

Positive COVID-19 tests

Amongst those who were tested under Pillar 1 and were in the SPL or the age-matched general population sample, the numbers reported positive peaked in early April 2020 in both groups.

The peak for daily positive COVID-19 tests in early April 2020 was 1 in 3,500 for individuals on the SPL and 1 in 9,500 for the general population sample.

Tests within Pillar 1 data relate to swab tests carried out in Public Health England laboratories and NHS hospitals in England for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers. Negative test results are not included in this publication. In addition, Pillar 2 testing data (swab tests for the wider population, as set out by government guidance) are also not included in this publication.

As a result, the overall COVID-19 testing rate cannot be calculated. These need to be borne in mind in viewing the data, particularly for the most recent months when Pillar 2 testing has become more common.


Last edited: 8 September 2020 12:32 pm