24 April 2020
Press Conference Statement from the Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré:
I’d like to welcome all of you who are watching on social media and YouTube, or who are listening live via BBC Radio Jersey.
I’d also like to thank the members of the media for taking part in this Press Conference.
I’m grateful to be joined today by the Minister for Health, who will be speaking in more detail about the ongoing preparations in Health and Community Services, and will provide an update on critical issues include PPE and immunity testing.
We both attended the Emergencies Council this morning, and have discussed in detail the Island’s current COVID-19 position, including the impact and duration of the Stay at Home measures.
Today we also published an update to the Island’s infection curve, showing the number of positive Coronavirus cases, the number of hospital admissions and the number of callers to the helpline reporting symptoms of fever.
As you will see, we are in a fortunate position because all the indications are that Islanders’ community spirit – and your commitment to Staying at Home – is flattening the curve and delaying the spread of Coronavirus significantly.
So first, I want to say thank you to everyone for your commitment to Stay at Home, and to ask that you continue to observe the instruction.
However, I am acutely aware of the strains the lockdown measures are placing on individuals, on families, and on our businesses.
We are working on the detail of a process to ease the current lockdown measures, and I have committed to making detailed announcements on this process by the end of the month.
As you will have seen, some European countries are starting to ease restrictions. In line with World Health Organisation guidelines, their strategies involve a phased approach, conditional on scientific advice on the spread of the virus, and each approach is tailored to the specific situation that country faces.
We will also follow a similar approach in Jersey, closely monitoring where we are on the curve, and what measures we can take at each level to ease restrictions safely without our healthcare system being overstretched.
Many of the restriction-easing proposals in other countries only bring them in line with where we already are in Jersey, and so whilst we are already in a more fortunate position, we will come forward with a strategy to ease the lockdown.
We will lift restrictions as soon as it is possible to do so safely.
That must always be our prime concern.
On Monday I committed to improving the frequency of our communications, and I hope that the media and members of the public are finding increased number of Press Conferences useful and informative.
This is the third Press Conference held by Ministers this week. In addition Senator Farnham and Senator Gorst have today given a briefing with the Chamber of Commerce on the details of Phase 2 of the Payroll Co-Funding Scheme, the guidance of which has been published this afternoon.
We have kept a log of all requests for further statistical information from the media and public, and will look to provide enhanced statistics from next week, while balancing the need for patient privacy with the need to keep you all informed.
Before I ask the Health Minister to speak, I want to give you the latest position on our test results, and the capacity within the General Hospital.
We have now tested 2,417 samples for COVID-19 and have received 2,126 negative results and 278 positive results.
Of those with positive results, 42% are male and 58% are female. The average age of those who have tested positive is 54.
The results of 31 tests are currently pending.
165 Islanders have now fully recovered from Coronavirus, having originally tested positive.
Of those who have recovered, 42% are male and 58% are female. And their average age is 48.
The number of Islanders who have passed having tested positive or been suspected of having COVID-19, remains 19.
72 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 13.
There are 125 beds currently available in the hospital, giving us an occupancy rate of 37%
I want to thank again the medical staff who gave the Health Minister and me a tour of the UTC and Control Centre at the General Hospital yesterday afternoon, and the 7000 islanders who have viewed that video on Facebook. The work that our frontline medical staff are doing is admirable, and deserves all our thanks.
I’ll now hand over to the Minister for Health.