I want to welcome everyone who is viewing this press conference through social media or listening on BBC Radio Jersey.
I’d also like to thank the media for joining us again, and for asking questions on behalf of Islanders.
Today I’m joined by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, as well as Mr. Patrick Armstrong, our Medical Director. Patrick had hoped to be part of our last press conference, but was engaged in surgery, so I’m very pleased he’s able to join us today.
I want to keep our statements short, so we can focus on questions from the media... But before we do that, I want to take a moment to reflect on Liberation 75.
Saturday is a significant anniversary for the Island. It is our national day and, for those who were alive during the Occupation, it will be particularly profound.
This is not the way that we hoped to be celebrating. And we are having to find new ways to engage as a community, while facing unfamiliar restrictions on our freedoms.
I grew up in Jersey listening to stories about the Occupation and Liberation from my family and their friends. Indeed many of us see constant reminders of that time, every day.
During the Occupation, Islanders were denied every freedom that they normally enjoyed… by miles of reinforced concrete… tens of thousands of mines… and thousands of occupying troops.
But what I know, is that Islanders NEVER lost hope in their eventual liberation.
The crisis currently facing our Island, and the world at large, does not compare to the suffering endured by those under Occupation seventy-five years ago.
But that doesn’t make our present position any easier. Families are separated, businesses are under financial strain, and Islanders are worried about the health of loved ones.
We too must not lose hope. The challenges we face WILL end.
Islanders have shown incredible determination to protect one another by following the Stay at Home instruction, and to provide support and comfort as volunteers.
We know that this has been particularly difficult for those living in cramped accommodation without outside space. We should all be mindful of these individuals and families and ensure we are not unfairly judging them for enjoying their permitted time outside.
Everyone has played their part, and I want to ask you now to continue playing your part to suppress the spread of COVID-19 over the coming weeks and months.
While we gradually relax measures, it will continue to be critical for everyone to continue to practice physical distancing, and good hygiene in every aspect of their lives. The Government will continue to publish public health guidance to help you in doing this.
As I have said repeatedly, if you are concerned about your physical health, even if not COVID-19 related PLEASE seek medical advice as soon as possible, especially if you are suffering from new or unexplained symptoms.
We have worked hard to ensure we have the best possible healthcare available to treat anyone who falls ill to COVID-19, and the processes in place to trace the spread of the virus through our Island.
We are resilient. We will come through this as a community.
And we WILL do that while shielding our most vulnerable Islanders from harm.
After this press conference, I will be chairing the Emergencies Council and discussing how we move through the levels of the Safe Exit Framework.
I look forward to sharing more detail on that with you on Monday
I’ll now ask the Minister for Health and Social Services to provide an update on our testing and healthcare position, before we take questions.
Minister for Health and Social Services
Deputy Richard Renouf:
Thank you, Chief Minister.
I also want to wish Islanders a safe and enjoyable weekend as they celebrate Liberation 75 in these particularly challenging circumstances.
It has been a good week for the dedicated staff working in Health and Community Services. And my thanks go to them for their continued hard work and dedication, especially those who will be working in the Hospital and looking after patients across the Bank Holiday weekend.
On Monday the Nightingale Hospital was handed over from the construction team to medical staff. And already our nursing staff are undertaking the essential training needed to work in this new environment.
We have begun our community antibody testing pilot scheme.
And have also started the work to increase the number of daily swab tests – including for frontline medical staff and Islanders with ANY symptom of Coronavirus.
As of today, we have tested 3,394 samples for COVID-19 and have received 2,893 negative results and 293 positive results.
The results of 208 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 remains at 6.
25 Islanders have sadly died as a result of the Coronavirus 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.
I want to express my profound sympathies to the families and friends of all those who have died during this very difficult period.
We will continue our work to increase our swab and antibody testing, to trace the spread of the virus, and to ensure that the protection of those most vulnerable to COVID-19 is our absolute priority.
I’ll now pass back to the Chief Minister, who will invite media questions.