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COVID-19 testing is expanded

16 May 2020

From early next week, the Government of Jersey will further expand its COVID-19 testing programme. 

There will be an increase in both PCR tests (a swab test to establish whether someone currently has the virus) and serology tests (a fingerprick test to establish whether someone has had the virus and developed anti-bodies.)

The increase in PCR testing will start with a range of essential workers to establish whether they 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 the first instance 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 

Essential workers identified as part of this first phase will be told how to book a test at either the Five Oaks testing centre, the new centre in the old Aircargo Centre carpark, or in their workplace via a mobile testing unit. Air passengers will not be affected and the airport remains open.

On average, they will receive their results within 48 hours. Any essential workers who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate, along with members of their household, in line with the standard guidance. Following a positive test, the usual contact-tracing process will be followed.  

Phase 1 of the serology testing, the household testing research, began on 2 May and will regularly test a sample of households to establish the spread of COVID-19 in the general population. This is continuing. 

Phase 2 will make serology tests available to teachers, utility workers, cleaners, supermarket staff, and other workers who have remained at work through Levels 4 and 3 of the Stay Home measures. 

Serology tests during Phase 2 will also be offered, along with PCR tests, in some health and care settings. The increase in serology testing will provide more data which will help shape the strategic response to managing and staffing key services during the pandemic. Details on how to access the tests will be confirmed in the coming days. 

Deputy Richard Renouf, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “Testing remains a key component of our strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19, and we are expanding our programme of testing accordingly.

“The data we receive will not only inform the big decisions on how we control the pandemic in the coming months, it will also allow us to keep essential workers and their families safe and reduce transmission in the community.

“I’d like to thank all the staff across Government who have worked so hard to increase our capacity to test more Islanders, including those who have worked to establish a new testing centre at the old Aircargo Centre carpark at the Airport.”
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