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Chief Minister's statement on the field hospital

13 April 2020

coronavirus field hospital

The Chief Minister has issued the following statement:

Good evening. I hope you and your families had a restful Easter weekend.

I was heartened to see so many people taking part in both the virtual bell ringing and the all-Island hymn signing yesterday on Easter Sunday.

As I travel to and from work, I can see more and more rainbows, gorilla drawings, and messages of support for our essential workers displayed in the windows of houses and businesses.

Easter is a time for family and community, and I am so proud that Islanders have found creative ways of sharing that sense of community that does not involve physically meeting up.

What happened this weekend was a celebration of community from Islanders of all faiths, and of none, and it is something we should all be immensely proud of. And that includes pride in the way that Islanders have been following the stay at home instruction and limiting their time outside except for essential shopping or exercise.

The measures we’ve introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19 appear to be working. But we must not be complacent or expect things to change too quickly.

We are behind other countries in Europe on the pandemic curve and are trying our best to flatten it, but we cannot escape the effects of coronavirus entirely. That is why we’ve made the decision to build a Nightingale Hospital at Millbrook Playing Fields, as I announced on Thursday evening.

This temporary facility is essential to provide the required capacity, support and treatment for Islanders during COVID-19, especially when the ‘peak’ of infection occurs.

I want to provide you with regular updates on what is happening at Millbrook, so you can understand the scale of the construction, the work of the teams involved, and the progress being made on site.

Preparatory work began on Thursday, and those who have passed the site over the weekend will have seen that the construction phase has already begun, during daylight hours.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend the topsoil at the field was removed and the team have already completed the task of laying the hardcore foundations and all of the drainage needed for the hospital.

The first eight trailers of the temporary structure have been received from Neptunus, who are one of the largest providers of temporary buildings in the world, and their team have now arrived and been inducted on site.

Today, that team began laying the floor for the modular building.

Behind the scenes, design work is progressing at pace, which includes the hospital layout and the ancillary buildings needed to support the staff. These have been ordered and will be delivered later this month.

Alongside experts from the United Kingdom and Europe, a wide range of local businesses have been engaged to provide condition surveys, temporary electrical services, substructure works and utilities. The team are continuing to increase staffing levels to match the activities on site.

Can I offer my sincere thanks not only to the businesses on site, but all those who have offered their professional help with the project.

I want to reiterate that all of these workers are carrying out essential roles to provide the resources we need to manage this virus. And they are all following necessary Government advice for their own protection from COVID-19, as well as the protection of their families, co-workers and Islanders.

A dedicated Health and Safety team on-site is ensuring that appropriate coronavirus practices are followed – alongside guaranteeing that all standard safety protocols are followed during construction. 

On behalf of all the Island, I want to thank all the members of the construction team and those working on the complex logistics behind the project, who have not been able to share Easter with their families. Their time and hard work now, mean that we can save more lives in future.

I know that this construction will have a particular impact on those living close to Millbrook, and the team is actively working to manage and resolve any complaints they receive from local residents.

In Government, we are working closely with the St Lawrence Parish Connétable and Deputies to ensure that those living near the Nightingale site are able to voice their concerns, get answers and are given regular updates on what is happening in their neighbourhood.

I would to thank the Connétable and Deputies for their assistance, and the Rector of St Lawrence, who has given the use of the Hall adjacent to the Glass Church, as the J3 site office.

I appreciate the real concerns all the residents in the area have, and want to thank them for the cooperation and understanding they’ve shown the team as the construction has got underway.

You will have seen that, over the weekend, we now have 217 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Jersey. We have also received 1583 negative results and we are awaiting the results of 55 more. We will only see these numbers continue to grow as our place on the infection curve changes.

The demands on our Health services will increase, and we need to be prepared to meet them head on. That is why the construction of the Nightingale hospital now is the right step to take. When the peak comes, it will help us to face it and manage it appropriately.
It will provide the resilience we need to try to protect our most vulnerable and save as many lives as we can.

That can only happen with your continued cooperation and support. Please, continue to follow the latest medical advice, and to comply with the stay home instruction.

Thank you again for taking the time to listen.

Please, continue to stay home and stay safe.

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