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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:

  • protect those at higher risk of complications or serious harm as a result of COVID-19
  • 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 following groups of essential workers are tested on a regular basis through the current essential worker screening programme:

  • all staff working for Health and Community Services
  • GPs and practice staff
  • Hospice
  • Family Nursing and Home Care and Le Bas Centre
  • all care home staff

All essential workers listed in the below groups are able to book a one-off PCR test by phoning the COVID helpline:

  • domiciliary care agency staff
  • ambulance
  • St John’s Ambulance
  • police
  • honorary police
  • prison officers
  • fire and rescue
  • customs and immigration
  • health and safety officers
  • probation service
  • youthwork
  • Salvation Army
  • Shelter Trust Group
  • funeral directors
  • pharmacies
  • dentists
  • emergency opticians
  • adult social workers
  • family support and residential childcare officers
  • children's social workers
  • all school and nursery staff

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 2-3 days.

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

As part of the Government of Jersey's response to the COVID-19 crisis, we conducted an essential worker antibody survey. The survey tested people that were 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 were 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. 

Serology essential workers programme report

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 indicated that there are likely to have been 3,300 cases of COVID-19 in Jersey. The second round of the testing programme expanded the number of participants from 438 households to 629 households. The results of the second round of testing estimates that 4.2% of Islanders (approximately 4,500 people) have come into contact with COVID-19. This suggests that we have suppressed the spread of coronavirus. We have done this through introducing physical distancing and the Safe Exit Framework.

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.

Prevalence of antibodies - community survey round 1

Prevalence of antibodies - community survey round 2

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 was  increased to 1,000 households for Round 2 and 1,250 households for Round 3.

If you are one of the 1,250 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 2 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 1 metre physical distance from you so they will be wearing personal protective equipment, such as a mask and gloves. Let the members of your household know in advance so as not to cause any concern.

Border testing (safer travel)

Passengers travelling into the Bailiwick of Jersey including Jersey residents, are required to isolate for 14 days unless they take part in the Safer Travel testing programme.

The Safer Travel Testing programme classifies passengers into three categories of PCR testing regime (green, amber and red) based on their travel history. 

For further information, see safer travel guidance.
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