12 February 2021
There are currently 55 known active COVID-19 cases in Jersey. This number has reduced significantly in recent weeks and our reconnection measures implemented so far have not led to a rise in cases.
The return of schools, for example has, been in place for over a month.
Around two and a half thousand Lateral Flow Tests have been completed in schools since January and, as of last Friday, we have seen only ten positive cases amongst pupils and three amongst staff.
I would like to thank all students and staff for their continued vigilance and for safely adhering to the guidance.
Our vaccine rollout has continued to make excellent progress. As of last Sunday, we had delivered a first dose of the vaccine to some 21,000 people, equivalent to nearly one in five Islanders.
Those Islanders, who are clinically at risk, are now able to book appointments and we anticipate most Islanders 65 and over to have received their first dose by the end of this month.
This is a good position to be in, and Islanders can be proud of their efforts to mitigate the spread and enable us to vaccinate those who are most vulnerable.
I also want to speak about a subject which is often overlooked in dissuasions on the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is the unintended consequences of our public health measures. Specifically, the impact that public health restrictions can have on our mental wellbeing.
Whilst our circuit breaker measures have reduced the spread of COVID-19, they have unfortunately increased the anxiety, loneliness and isolation felt by Islanders.
This impact on mental health should not be disregarded merely as a necessary impact of dealing with the pandemic.
The exacerbation of our Island’s mental wellbeing will cause, and is causing, real and tangible repercussions on our public health.
We have seen an increase in our inpatient Mental Health bed occupancy which has been consistently above our target occupancy rate since the start of the year.
We’ve also observed an increase in eating disorders amongst young adults and children. And the child and adolescent mental health team have seen a 10% increase in activity.
To everyone who may be struggling, or who has found the last few weeks and months particularly difficult, please know that help is available, and you are not forgotten.
There is a wide array of support both through local community groups and charities and via the Government and Health Service. You can find a full list of the support available on the Mental Health Network page on gov.je.
We are keen to reconnect our Island as soon as it is safe to do so, but we all have a duty to reach out to those who might be finding this time particularly difficult, to connect virtually or safely outdoors and to help one another.
Our guidance does allow us to visit somebody living alone, who might require care, and that includes relieving their isolation and loneliness.
Jersey has always prided itself on our strong community. We need that community spirit to shine as we safely reconnect our Island.
I’ll now hand over to the Deputy Chief Minister who will speak in more detail about the ongoing work with the hospitality industry to protect Islanders as we continue to reconnect.