Covid-19 symptomatic classification (FOI)
Covid-19 symptomatic classification (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 19 January 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
I see and hear a lot of doubt from people questioning current handling of the covid pandemic by our Government. I hope you can help clarifying how the department that is handling and informing us about the current situation classifies and updates cases.
Covid-19: What are the requirements to be qualified as ‘Symptomatic’ (How many of the following symptoms does a positive case have to show to be classified as symptomatic)?
If a case is classified as symptomatic does it stay classified as symptomatic even if symptoms go before a negative test result? (How do you update symptomatic and asymptomatic cases? Is this test based or time based)
The new regulations that have been taken (mandatory to wear a mask, limiting social gatherings, self-isolation requirements and so on) are these limited in time and if not, is there a timed review planned.
How do you compare positive covid cases with positive flu cases over the years in Jersey? Is this comparison made with accurate / similar data (has the testing / discovery of cases for flu over the years been done using the same parameters, using the same amount of testing).
How many symptomatic flu cases were there in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and how many asymptomatic?
What is the average R rate for Covid-19?
What was the average R rate for Flu in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019?
What is the accuracy rate as declared by the manufacturer and declared by an independent institution of the covid tests used in Jersey.
The three main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these main symptoms. If an individual has at least one of the above three main symptoms, he or she is classified as “
symptomatic” and is advised to immediately go into isolation and call the Coronavirus helpline.
The three main symptoms may be accompanied by:
If an individual does not have any of the three main symptoms but has one of the accompanying symptoms and has any concerns they may contact the Covid helpline.
More information is available in the following link:
A symptomatic person calls the Coronavirus helpline and is booked for a PCR test. If their test is positive, contact tracing call them to confirm that they are positive and ascertain when the symptoms started and which symptoms they have.
They do not receive another test. They have regular welfare calls from Contact Tracing; most symptomatic individuals are asked to isolate for seven days, with a further 48 hours clear of symptoms. If on the welfare calls they are still not well, this isolation period may be extended until they have been clear of symptoms for 48 hours.
This person would be classified as Seeking Healthcare on the statistics.
The States Assembly has adopted a number of different Regulations relating to Covid-19 including the following:
These Regulations allow the Minister for Health and Social Services to make Orders which may prohibit things (for example, swimming pools are prohibited from opening), may restrict things (for example, outdoor gatherings are restricted to no more than 10 people) or may require things (for example, require people to wear masks). The time length of an Order may vary depending on which Regulations the Order is made under but it is generally the case that an Order will last between two to four weeks.
However, when an Order expires, a new Order may be made. Before making an Order the Health Minister must consult the Medical Officer of Health and must be satisfied that the risk or potential risk to public health caused by Covid-19 is such that it is proportionate and necessary to make the Order.
The response to the coronavirus pandemic has seen a high level of PCR testing on Island.
In the spring, tests were used for individuals who were symptomatic and seeking healthcare and their direct contacts. At this time around one in 10 positive cases were asymptomatic and the community antibody surveys conducted April-June suggest around 3,200-4,000 Islanders had contracted the virus since the beginning of the year.
Since July, PCR tests have also been used as part of the Safer Travel Policy to ensure that those entering the Island are tested. There has also been a large rise in on-Island surveillance tests being conducted since September, including workforce screening and cohort screening. The weekly testing rate stands at around 12,600 per 100,000 population. Around one in three coronavirus cases picked up by the surveillance testing programme are found to be asymptomatic.
This is very different to the testing programmes for influenza in past years, where only those that seek healthcare are known to the health system, and not all cases are tested to prove they have influenza. Therefore, it is not appropriate to compare positive coronavirus cases this year with influenza cases in previous years.
Information related to previous flu seasons (2016 / 2017, 2017 / 2018 and 2018 / 2019) is already in the public domain. Data for 2019/2020 will be published in due course.
Seasonal influenza vaccine statistics 2018-2019
Routine testing for asymptomatic influenza cases is not conducted.
The World Health Organisation states:
The reproductive number (‘R’ rate) – the number of secondary infections generated from one infected individual – is understood to be between 2 and 2.5 for COVID-19 virus, higher than for influenza. However, estimates for both COVID-19 and influenza viruses are very context and time-specific, making direct comparisons more difficult.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Similarities and differences with influenza
Due to the size of Jersey and the small number of tests conducted in previous years for influenza, an estimate of the reproductive number for Jersey is not available.
A performance qualification was carried out by OpenCell which showcases in the validation report that all evaluation criteria were met or exceeded, with statistical analysis yielding a Sensitivity of 97.8%, Specificity of 100%.
Some samples are tested using the Cepheid GeneXpert method. More information can be found in response to a previous FOI request in the following link:
Reliability of Covid-19 test results (FOI)
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