HUNDREDS of coronavirus infections that were not previously made public have now been added to the total for St Helens in Public Health England’s (PHE) official coronavirus data.

Up until Tuesday, the test results published by PHE daily only contained ‘pillar 1’ data, swab tests that are analysed by PHE’s own labs and NHS hospitals.

Pillar 2 data, swab testing for the wider population in the community, such as drive-through test centres like the one in Haydock, and care homes, has not been included in the data.

READ > Councillor calls for urgent scrutiny of coronavirus care home strategy

But on Tuesday, the government finally included the pillar 2 test data in the PHE coronavirus figures, adding thousands of infections previously unknown by the public.

In St Helens, cases jumped from 768 as of 9am Wednesday morning, to 1,192 – a rise of 55 per cent.

Based on the cumulative total (reflecting the rate since the start of outbreak in March), this gives St Helens rate of infection, per 100,000 of 662.0.

Cumulative case counts include patients who are currently unwell, have recovered and those that have died.

Locally, pillar 1 and 2 data at a borough level came through from around June 8, a St Helens Borough Council spokesman confirmed.

Crucially though, the breakdown of the pillar 2 data, which has previously been collected by commercial laboratories, only came through earlier this week.

This has been a similar picture in hundreds of local authority areas across the UK.

St Helens Star: Swab test results from drive-through test centres were not previously included in the data from Public Health England Swab test results from drive-through test centres were not previously included in the data from Public Health England

The Public Health department in Leicester – the first area in the UK to go into ‘local lockdown’ following a huge surge in cases – only received the elevated infection numbers last Thursday.

Greater Manchester councils only received their data last week too.

However, PHE has now begun publishing full pillars 1 and 2 data for all English local authorities, going back to the start of the outbreak.

READ > Coronavirus outbreak plan published by St Helens Council

In the week up to June 28, St Helens had a rate of 6.7 cases, per 100,000 population, which is unchanged from the previous week.

Knowsley has seen a significant jump from 6.0 to 20.1, while Liverpool has seen a slight increase from 6.3 to 7.7.

Leicester tops the list with 141.3