02 December 2020
The Health Minister has made the following speech:
We now have more than three hundred active Covid cases in Jersey - eight of these are in Hospital and one is in a local Care Home.
The projected R-rate is currently between 1.6 and 2.0 and this means that each case is, on average, passing to more than one other person. This will result in the number of new cases rising exponentially.
We have always said that Winter would lead to an increase in cases, and our greatly expanded testing capacity means we are detecting far more cases than we otherwise might. However, this rise in cases is concerning and we must act to protect our healthcare capacity and safeguard those Islanders who are most at risk.
In a realistic worst-case scenario, we could see cases continue to exponentially grow, and the number of active cases continue to double roughly every 13 days.
This trend would result in around 1,100 active cases by Boxing Day, with around twelve thousand direct contacts being required to self-isolate. This would amount to more than one in ten-Islanders being in self-isolation over the festive period and considerable strain being placed on our healthcare system. But this is without taking action.
So it is vital to take the action the Chief Minister has announced, now.
Compounding these challenges is the fact that, due to the incubation period of COVID-19 being up to 14 days, we know that the active cases we see today are the result of infections which may have taken place days, or even weeks ago.
Therefore, despite the measures we are announcing today, we will continue to see an increase in cases in the days ahead. It is vital that we implement these measures in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to reduce the numbers of active cases which we will be seeing later this month.
Doing so will reduce the strain on our healthcare capacity and increase our ability to protect those most at risk and save lives.
Without action, we WILL have to implement further, even more stringent measures.
Because of the increase of cases in Jersey’s General Hospital and to protect both patients and staff, I have also taken the difficult decision to suspend visitors to patients at the hospital.
This decision was announced earlier today, and is now in effect. I know it will be extremely frustrating and distressing to many Islanders, particularly at this time of year, but it is necessary to reduce the risks faced by patients and staff.
The policy will be kept under constant review and exemptions are in place for children and vulnerable adults who may be accompanied by one other person wearing the appropriate PPE.
The Maternity, Paediatrics and the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) will remain open for visitors, with strict PPE measures in place. Special arrangements will also be made for the families of any patient on an end-of-life care pathway.
As a further measure to increase our healthcare capacity we can, if needed, activate the Nightingale Ward. This facility is now prepared to be ready to receive patients within 24 hours and we will do so at short notice if the demands on our healthcare system require it.
Let me be clear, we are nearly at that trigger point.