Vaughan Gething has said that he would not have tested people without symptoms going into care homes from hospital at the start of the crisis.
He said that testing capacity had no bearing on his decision not to test people without symptoms going into care homes.
The health secretary made the point during today’s Welsh Government coronavirus press conference when he was questioned over a WalesOnline investigation that found over 1,000 hospital patients were discharged into care homes without a test.
Speaking about the advice the Welsh Government received he said: “This is a question that has been asked several times before.
“We have based our decisions on advice and evidence. The advice and the evidence changes. It is important that we make different choices when the evidence and advice changes as well.”
A total of 1,097 patients were discharged from hospital to care homes without a test during March and April this year.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 713 people with coronavirus in care homes have died since the start of the pandemic – nearly a third of the 2,317 deaths in Wales linked to Covid-19 recorded by June 5.
When questioned on whether a lack of test capacity contributed to the advice he said that he would have made the same decision regardless of the number of tests available.
He said: “If we’d had treble the amount testing capacity at any point in time, then that was still the evidence and advice we had on how to make use of all of our resources.
“We did not get advice that said you really should do this but can’t because we don’t have testing capacity’.
“To make a link between testing capacity and the choice we made is not born out by the facts.”
On how the virus got into care homes Mr Gething pointed to three avenues; staff, visitors and residents, adding: “The majority of care homes in Wales do not have coronavirus cases.”
At the briefing Mr Gething also confirmed an outbreak of coronavirus at a third meat processing plant in Wales.
e said a “small cluster” was being investigated at the Kepak plant in Merthyr Tydfil.
A total of 34 cases have been confirmed in the cluster since April 25, he said. There have been eight cases since the start of June, and six people are currently off sick with the virus.
This incident remains under investigation, he said.
It comes after 200 confirmed cases were recorded at the 2 Sisters plant in Llangefni, in Anglesey, and another 70 cases at a Rowan Foods plant in Wrexham.
Public Health Wales confirmed that they have so far tested 450 people in relation to the 2 Sisters outbreak so far.