25 February 2022
PCR testing staff will be receiving certificates today and congratulated for their hard work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and for having completed one million PCR swabs since March 2020.
The first PCR testing centre facility opened on 12 March 2020 for Islanders who were referred by the Coronavirus Helpline. Since then, the programme has seen many changes, this has included expanding PCR tests to all Islanders showing any symptoms of COVID-19, and later also offering PCR tests to Islanders with positive lateral flow tests (LFT) when LFTs were gradually introduced in 2021.
The Island-wide community testing facility has relocated several times between Five Oaks, the old Aircargo Centre car park, and the harbour's Elizabeth Terminal. Earlier this month, the testing centre and staff relocated back to the Airport drive-through as the space used for community testing at the harbour was returned to Ports of Jersey due to increased travel.
In May 2020, border testing began as a trial for passengers arriving at Jersey Airport. This was followed with regular testing updates to the Safer Travel Policy while the virus continued to evolve. The Safer Travel Policy once saw all passengers receiving a PCR test when arriving in Jersey regardless of travel history or vaccination status. On 4 February 2022, all border testing in Jersey was removed as part of the de-escalation strategy from COVID-19.
Throughout the past two years, the Contact Tracing team and the Coronavirus helpline have also been integral in facilitating Islanders to attend for testing and receiving their results. Their role developed over the pandemic, and has involved booking test slots, contacting PCR confirmed positive cases, contacting associated direct contacts, and carrying out welfare checks. As part of the de-escalation of COVID-19 measures, Contact Tracing has now been reduced.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "This milestone is an excellent opportunity to thank all the staff past and present who have been involved in the testing programme. My gratitude goes to all the staff in the COVID Safe team, including those working at the borders, staff at the testing centres, contact tracing, and those working in the HCS laboratory. They have all been a vital part in protecting the community and ensuring positive cases are quickly identified, therefore ensuring infection spread is reduced.
"I remind Islanders that the isolation policy remains in place until the end of March with more information to follow soon, so if you receive a positive LFT or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, please book a confirmatory PCR test for the airport drive-through.
"Once again, I thank all staff and Islanders for their co-operation. COVID-19 is still with us, and we must remain vigilant and look after one another as we enter the post-emergency stage."