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Technical problems delay Covid rest results

03 October 2021

Ongoing technical issues at the Open Cell testing laboratory have caused delays in processing around 3,000 test results since Thursday evening. Tests have been held for longer than desired, so some people will now need to be re-tested. 

As teams work to fix the issues within the next day or two, a risk analysis for each of the affected groups has been conducted, to ensure a COVID-safe approach and to minimise disruption and anxiety.

The following temporary changes will come into immediate effect:

  • symptomatic islanders who are awaiting a test result must remain in isolation. Around 100 Islanders will be retested, with the results processed by the hospital laboratory within 24 hours. Any children who are symptomatic and awaiting a test result must not return to school until they receive a negative result. Siblings of symptomatic children can attend school. All affected Islanders have been contacted and should book a new PCR test online, or call the Coronavirus helpline on 0800 735 5566
  • all islanders identified as a Direct Contacts will need to be re-tested:
    • islanders aged 18 and over in this category do not have to isolate. Around 65 Islanders are affected and have been contacted about how to book a new PCR test. 
    • children who are Direct Contacts and not symptomatic can return to school immediately, but it is recommended they take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) before returning to school. Not all primary school age children have access to LFTs currently. There are around 55 children out of the 120 Direct Contacts awaiting a test result, and they have all been contacted to explain how they can book a PCR retest 
  • green light (fully vaccinated) passengers arriving in Jersey will not need to be re-tested. This applies to around 1,800 passengers. As these passengers are fully vaccinated, they are considered lower risk. 
  • green (unvaccinated) passengers who have recently arrived in Jersey will not be required to continue with their isolation but are required to be re-tested as soon as possible. This applies to around 190 people.
  • green (unvaccinated) passengers arriving in Jersey while testing issues are ongoing will not be required to isolate, as off-Island results take approximately 36 hours to process. The isolation requirement for Green arrivals will return as soon as the Open Cell testing laboratory resumes its normal processing.
  • islanders who are awaiting a Workforce Screening PCR test result will be tested again at the next scheduled testing cycle. Around 250 Islanders in the Workforce Screening Programme have been affected. 
All affected groups will be contacted via email.  

Any PCR tests from Saturday morning onwards have been sent for testing to the UK. These results are expected within 36 hours.

It is still being evaluated whether the issues have affected the delivery of some private pre-departure tests that use Open Cell. 

Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said: “We understand that re-booking PCR tests might cause inconvenience and we’d like to apologise to everyone who has been affected this weekend. 

“Our aim is to get people who test negative out of isolation as soon as possible and this is the fastest way to do so while the technical problems remain.
“Ministers are currently reviewing the Winter Strategy and the Safer Travel policy, and a further announcement will be made in the coming weeks.

“I would like to thank all the teams who have been working around the clock this weekend to minimise the impact of these technical issues on Islanders.”

Anyone isolating can spend up to two hours outdoors, and if support is needed, they can call the Coronavirus helpline who will be able to help through the Connect Me service.

As some fully vaccinated passengers have left Jersey this weekend, there are now around 2,500 tests awaiting processing.
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