07 May 2020
I want to start by thanking you all, again, for continuing to follow the latest Government advice, by maintaining social distancing and protecting severely vulnerable Islanders.
Since Saturday, people have been enjoying their four hours permitted outside their homes, but have been doing so in a responsible way that limits the spread of COVID-19.
Because of your actions, we are in a really good place.
We’ve seen a minimal increase in the number of positive cases; we’ve begun our antibody testing programme and enhanced contract tracing; and the Nightingale Hospital has been handed over to medical staff.
We can now look carefully at how we will move through the levels of our Safe Exit Framework.
Our expectation is that we will move into Level 3 from the beginning of next week.
I want to start with an update on our testing and healthcare position.
We have now tested 3,213 samples for COVID-19 and have received 2,812 negative results and 293 positive results.
The results of 108 tests are currently pending.
207 Islanders have now fully recovered from Coronavirus, having originally tested positive.
70 Islanders are currently being treated in the General Hospital for a range of medical conditions. Of those, the number of Coronavirus patients has reduced to 6.
Sadly, a total of 25 Islanders have now died as a result of this pandemic.
Of those deaths, 12 were confirmed, through laboratory testing, as being COVID-19 deaths, and 13 were presumptive Coronavirus deaths.
A total of 13 deaths took place within hospital care – 11 in the General Hospital, and 2 in St Saviours Hospital.
Outside of the hospital setting, 11 deaths have occurred in Island care homes, and 1 within an individual’s own home.
1 individual who died was aged between 50 and 59 years, 2 of those who died were aged 60 to 69 years, 7 were aged between 70 and 79, 8 were aged between 80 and 89 years, and 7 were aged over 90.
As Islanders, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who have passed away.
I understand that some Islanders have found the updated lockdown advice confusing. So, I want to answer many of the questions I’ve received in the next few minutes.
Firstly, who can benefit from the changes we have made to the Stay at Home instruction?
Well, the changes that allow four hours’ time out of the home, with up to two people from outside your household, apply to non-vulnerable Islanders, AND those who are classed as ‘vulnerable’, which include Islanders aged over 65.
Different advice applies for those Islanders who are ‘severely vulnerable’.
What do we mean by vulnerable?
Well, that category covers those aged over 65, but also several other conditions.
It includes those who are pregnant, may be seriously overweight or suffering from the medical conditions listed on screen. Full details can be found on the Government of Jersey website.
These people can enjoy up to four hours’ time out of the house per day, with up to 2 additional people.
But because they are more vulnerable to COVID-19, they should be especially mindful of maintaining social distancing and following the best hygiene advice.
Severely vulnerable Islanders are those who are most susceptible to the effects of COVID-19 and we want to shield from the virus.
They will fall into the categories on screen now, including those who are suffering from certain cancers, have severe respiratory conditions or who are immunocompromised
The advice to severely vulnerable people is not to spend any time outside of their home.
Instead, they should avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms of the virus, having food or medication left at their door and should be using technology to keep in touch with friends and family.
And they should minimise contact by staying at home – that unfortunately means not attending private or public gatherings, or going out for shopping, work, leisure or travel.
I appreciate this is a very difficult position for those severely vulnerable Islanders who have been isolating for some time, and can be extremely detrimental to their mental health.
We’re developing new guidance which we hope to release soon, with the aim of supporting anyone severely vulnerable to take informed decisions for themselves about how they take care of their own wellbeing as the pandemic continues.
To return to those who can are able to take advantage of the changes.
We have also received many questions about how many people you can meet, both as an individual and – more importantly – as a family or household.
So, under the new guidelines you CAN meet a maximum of two other people from outside your household
And you can meet outside. This includes in your garden but NOT in your homes.
As an individual, you can meet two people you don’t live with.
But many Islanders want to meet two friends or family when accompanied by their partner and children.
So we’re treating households – that’s two or more people who live together - as a single unit.
All the people in that household can meet a maximum of two additional people from outside that household.
Why are we doing this?
We must remember the aim of the new guidance is to allow Islanders an increased amount of social contact for their overall well-being, while continuing to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
The best way to understand this is to think of a practical example.
Imagine a household as a family of two parents and three children who live together. From the perspective of the virus, they are all one unit – the likelihood is that if one is infected, they will all be infected. If one is uninfected, the likelihood is they are all uninfected.
So, we treat them as a unit. That means that, as a unit, they can meet two other people – as long as they keep two metres away from them and social distance is maintained.
They can meet two friends, or family members, from different households.
They can also meet a maximum of two people who live together in another household. We allow this so families can see grandparents or close friends who are couples, while still keeping the number of people meeting to a minimum.
So in summary, a household can meet with a maximum of two other people.
When you have higher numbers of people meeting, the likelihood of transmitting the virus increases exponentially.
Finally, people have been asking how they can enjoy their time outside. This time is no longer limited to just exercise, and can be used for any outside activity which includes relaxing, fishing, having a barbecue, running, and using boats. Whatever you do, please ensure you remain safe!
Please remember to keep following medical and hygiene advice:
- Keep 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household.
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Catch your cough or sneeze in a tissue
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
- And strongly consider wearing a cloth mask in public spaces
And, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Coronavirus helpline on (01534) 445566, or your Parish Hall.
Thank you, as always, for taking the time to listen.
I’ll be hosting a press conference tomorrow afternoon at 2pm, which will be broadcast on our social media channels and BBC Radio Jersey. I hope you will be able to tune in.