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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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COVID-19 testing programme

About our testing strategy

Testing is important to make sure that new cases of COVID-19 are identified so we can break the chain of coronavirus being passed on to other people. Testing will help us prevent new clusters and outbreaks of the virus. By preventing the spread of the virus we:

  • safeguard our vulnerable
  • prevent lots of people suffering the symptoms of coronavirus
  • protect our hospital
  • protect the health and wellbeing of workers

The island-wide testing programme has four elements:

  1. increasing Jersey's diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing capacity to 500 tests per day.
  2. a longitudinal community testing programme to monitor the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in a randomly selected group of islanders over several months
  3. introducing immunity testing, if and when, this becomes possible
  4. securing a resilient supply chain to support the delivery of these activities

Essential worker PCR testing

To help trace and contain the spread of COVID-19, essential workers are being offered Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests. Priority will be given to essential workers who are in direct contact with the public to establish whether they currently have COVID-19. Essential workers have been identified for the first round of testing based on their risk of contracting or spreading the disease through direct contact with the public.

The essential workers who will be offered tests in include:

  • patient-facing health and care workers in all settings (including hospital, care homes, ambulance, hospice, family nursing and home care workers)
  • police, fire and prison officers
  • allied health and social care workers
  • customs and immigration staff
  • funeral directors

How to book a test

If you meet the criteria for testing, you will be contacted by your employer who will provide instructions on how to book an appointment. You will not need to provide any identification.

Appointments will be offered at either at:

  • Five Oaks testing centre drive-through
  • the old Aircargo Centre carpark drive-through
  • in some cases, in the workplace via a mobile testing unit

The test

This is a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab and will involve a swab being taken from the back of your throat and your nose and this will be sent for virology testing. The test takes 5 minutes to complete.

You cannot swab yourself.

If you have previously tested positive for COVID 19 you will not be re-swabbed as part of this programme.

Test results

On average results are available within 48 hours.

If you test positive a member of the Contact Tracing team will be in touch to advise that you that you have tested positive.

They will explain what this means and what action you need to take and will also ask for details of anyone you have been in contact with.

Any essential workers who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate, along with members of their household, in line with the latest isolation guidance. Following a positive test, a contact tracing process will be followed.

You can claim sickness benefit if you need to self-isolate and can't work in relation to the latest Government advice on coronavirus.

You will need to contact your employer and inform them that you are required to isolate.

If you test negative, you'll receive a text message to confirm this.

Questions, concerns or complaints

If you're unhappy about any aspect of your treatment and wish to complain you can do this by contacting the coronavirus helpline on +44 (0)1534 445566.

Essential worker antibody survey

There are currently no antibody survey appointments available.

As part of the Government of Jersey's response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are running an essential worker antibody survey. This survey will test people that have been working through the Stay at Home period and worked away from home on 5 or more occasions between 20 March and 11 May 2020. The results from this survey will help us to understand and monitor COVID-19 in our community.

The essential worker antibody survey complements the existing Community Testing Programme and will help us to understand COVID-19 antibodies in this group of workers within our island.

Participants will be given a free antibody test by a health care professional at a testing centre. The test is a finger-prick test that uses a single drop of blood to identify if COVID-19 antibodies are present. 

People who should take part in the essential worker antibody survey

The essential worker antibody survey is for people who were actively working throughout the Stay Home period and whose exposure to COVID-19 may be different to the general population.

Anyone that worked outside of their home for a minimum of five days between 30 March and 11 May 2020 is eligible to take part in the study. If you meet the criteria and wish to take part in the survey you can book a test slot using the online form.

The booking link may be blocked by some employer networks. If the link does not work you will need to access it from your home computer or mobile device.

You do not need permission from your employer to take part in the survey, though some employers may be able to support you take part during working hours if you ask in advance. You will need to bring your Social Security number, ID and proof of recent employment to the test centre.

We would particularly encourage people to take part whose role is essential to the continued running of the island, including those working in:

  • agriculture
  • cleaning, security or other facilities management services
  • construction
  • education or childcare
  • emergency accommodation
  • freight, post and passenger transport
  • healthcare
  • island utilities and infrastructure
  • other active public services
  • other frontline public services
  • retail
  • voluntary service

Participation in the study will be coordinated, through the booking form, so that numbers per workforce sector can be capped once the study requirements are met.

People who are also prioritised as part of the Government's diagnostic screening (PCR) programme will be asked to agree that the data from their antibody survey test can be matched with the data from their PCR screening test to provide additional insights. 

Some frontline health and care workers will be offered antibody screening at their place of work in the coming weeks. If you are offered this, and have made an appointment already, you can either:

  • cancel your appointment for the essential worker antibody survey using the online booking system
  • attend your essential worker antibody survey appointment and choose to not take part in the testing at your place of work

Your data will be included in the study whichever option you choose.

People who cannot take part the essential worker antibody survey

Anyone under 16 years of age is not eligible for this survey.

People who only worked from home for the Stay Home period, are not eligible for this survey.

People who only worked away from home on fewer than five occasions between 30 March and 11 May 2020, are not eligible for this survey.

If you are already taking part in the Community Testing Programme you will not be included in this survey as the information you provide in the longitudinal study already captures your results.

How to book a test 

There is no obligation to take part in this survey.  People who get involved will be supporting research that compliments the existing Community Testing Programme and will help us to understand the distribution of COVID-19 antibodies within our island.

If you are eligible for the survey you should book yourself into a testing centre using our online booking system. Tests are being carried out from 21 May at testing centres around the Island.

There are currently no antibody survey appointments available.

To book a test you should:

  1. choose which centre you wish to visit for your test
  2. select the date you would like to be tested
  3. select a time you would like to be tested
  4. add your details, name, email and phone number
  5. under the "Provide additional information" section, select the category of essential worker that best describes your role
  6. click in the box to confirm that you have worked away from the home on five or more occasions
  7. click the red 'book' button to complete your booking. By clicking the 'book' button your are agreeing to the terms and policy conditions. Click on the "privacy policies" link to review the Government of Jersey Coronavirus (COVID-19): privacy notice

You will receive an email with details of your appointment. This email also allows you to manage your own booking should you need to reschedule or cancel. 

To change or cancel a booking

  • you will have received an email confirming your test appointment
  • to change your booking click on the grey box at the bottom of the email titled 'Manage Booking'
  • this opens a "Manage my Booking" page where you can select to reschedule, cancel or make a new booking
  • once a change has been made you will receive a new email confirming your changed or cancelled booking

What to bring with you to the test centre

You will need to bring the following to your appointment:

  • your social security number
  • a form of photographic ID, for example a passport driving licence of other form of identification
  • something recent that confirms your place of work; this could be your work ID, a payslip or a letter from your manager on headed paper

If you do not bring these to the test you will not able to be tested at that time and will need to book another appointment. 

The test

We will be using a point of care test that has been validated by the Jersey General Hospital laboratory as sufficient for the purpose of population monitoring. The tests identify the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies in blood. These tests are not used to diagnose people with COVID-19 as there is a chance that an individual's test result might not be accurate. Inaccuracies are accounted for in our reporting so that we see a general picture of antibodies spread, which is the purpose of the essential worker antibody survey.

Your results are available after 15 minutes and we will tell you your result at the time of your visit and explain what it means.

A positive test does not mean that you have developed immunity to COVID-19.

Where appropriate, anyone who tests positive for antibodies will be offered a diagnostic swab test (PCR test) by a registered nurse during their appointment. Depending on your symptoms you and/or your household will be provided with isolation advice. 

We will also record your result into the Integrated Public Health Record database. Your data will be anonymised before analysis and reporting to support future policy development. To understand more about how we will use your data see the privacy notice for this study.

Community testing programme

As part of the Government of Jersey’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are running a community antibody testing programme. The results from the community testing programme will help us to understand and monitor COVID-19 in our community.  The test monitors the presence of antibodies in a randomly selected group of islanders over several months, this is known as a longitudinal study. By testing the same group of people over a long time we will be able to see how common the virus is and how it moves in our community.

The results from the community testing programme will show the spread of COVID-19 in Jersey. The results from the first round of community antibody testing indicate that there are likely to have been 3,300 cases of COVID-19 in Jersey. This suggests that we have suppressed the spread of coronavirus. We have done this through introducing physical distancing and the Stay at Home Instruction.

The information we get through community testing will provide us with accurate information that can be used to support decision-making in relation to COVID-19 especially on how and when we can start to lift restrictions currently in place with Stay at Home.

Antibody survey report

People selected to take place in the community testing programme

500 households were randomly selected to take part in Round 1 of the community testing programme. This has been increased to 1,000 households for Round 2.

If you are one of the 1,000 households who have been selected at random, we want to test you to see if you have already been exposed to COVID-19. We will then use all the results from this testing programme to create a snapshot of the Island. This picture will support our future decision making on how to move through the levels of Jersey's Safe Exit Framework.

Every selected household will be sent a letter inviting them to book a testing appointment either online or by calling us. To make sure we can fill all the available testing appointments, some households might also be contacted by a member of the helpline team or visited by one of our field workers. If you have received a letter and haven’t already booked your appointment, call us on +44 (0) 1534 445566.

This is a voluntary programme so people tested will not receive any payment for their involvement. The test is free of charge.

We are asking participants to agree to be tested every four weeks and to give consent for the information collected through this testing programme to be used in future decision making to protect our community. We expect to finish testing in early autumn.

People who are excluded from the testing programme

Children under the age of 16 are not included in the testing programme. If anyone in your household is shielding, we are happy to make alternative arrangements so that your household can safely take part in the testing process.

All participants in the testing programme are taking part as a volunteer, there is no obligation to take part.  People who get involved will really help us to better understand how coronavirus has spread in our community.

The test

We will be using a point of care test that has been validated by the Jersey General Hospital laboratory as sufficient for the purpose of population monitoring. The tests identify the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies in blood. These tests are not used to diagnose people with COVID-19 as there is a chance that an individual’s test result might not be accurate. Inaccuracies are accounted for in our reporting so that we see a general picture of antibodies in our population, which is the purpose of the community testing programme.

The test is repeated every 4 weeks on all the participants.

What the test involves

The test is a finger-prick test, using a single drop of your blood, results are ready ten minutes later.

We will tell you your result at the time of your visit and explain what it means. We will also record your result into a database, which we will send to Statistics Jersey to create an Island wide picture to be made publicly available.

What the results will tell you

This test detects antibodies to COVID-19 in your blood.  People who are part of the testing programme will be told the results of their test during their appointment. The island wide test results will be reported on anonymously by Statistics Jersey. It is hoped that over time results will help estimate the extent of spread in the community.

A negative result does not guarantee that you have not had, or do not currently have, coronavirus. A positive result confirms that antibodies have been detected in your sample which means that means that you have or have previously had coronavirus. A positive test does not mean that you have developed immunity to COVID-19.

Where we’re testing

We have two testing centres, and appointments will be at the centre nearest to the participants home. One appointment can be made for everyone in the household to attend at the same time.

On arrival, the household will need to make themselves known to the parking attendant. They will tell you what to do next. The testing team will not be able to keep two metres physical distance from you so they will be wearing personal protective equipment, such as a mask and gloves. Please let the members of your household know in advance so as not to cause any concern.

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