Source: Channel Islands – Jersey
13 July 2021
Following advice from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) and in consultation with Public Health, Competent Authority Ministers have issued new guidance and extended measures to keep Islanders safe this summer.
Stage 7 Reconnection Roadmap
Following increasing cases of COVID-19, Ministers have agreed a further pause to Stage 7 of Jersey’s Reconnection Roadmap.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “Ministers had every intention to proceed with the remainder of Stage 7 Reconnection, and it is with regret that we’re not in the position to enable full reconnection at this point in time. We had originally agreed an additional 10 days to allow for more Islanders to receive first and second doses of the vaccine, and while vaccination rates are increasing week on week, we are also seeing increased cases and so need to proceed with caution.
Ministers will continue to review the current position and work with STAC and Public Health to provide future updates.
Safer Summer guidance
Ministers have also published new Public Health guidance for those who are identified as direct contacts.
The guidance online also includes further information for residents and non-residents travelling out of the Island, how to reduce the risk in households when isolating and the support available during the isolation period.
Ministers are reminding Islanders of the importance of adhering to public health guidance, including strongly recommending wearing masks when in public places. Islanders are now being encouraged to wear a mask in indoor public places where physical distancing is difficult. Masks remain mandatory for Islanders over the age of 12 years old when using public transport, or inside the bus station, airport, and harbour.
Islanders are being reminded about the importance of allowing fresh air in homes and workplaces, frequently washing and sanitising hands, and trying to keep a distance from anyone they do not live with.
To mitigate the spread of COVID within workplaces, Ministers are also advising Islanders to work from home wherever possible. Employers should consider what they can do to help prevent the spread of COVID within workplaces and take appropriate operational measures.
Direct contact guidance
Islanders who are direct contacts, especially those with a positive case in their household, are asked to think very carefully about the activities they undertake and the places they visit.
Anyone waiting for their second or third negative test result should work from home if they can, should not attend a medical appointment unless it’s urgent, should try to minimise social contact, avoid busy or crowded public spaces and avoid visiting people in hospital or care homes except in special circumstances.
Isolating as a direct contact while awaiting a second or third test is no longer mandatory, but people should think very carefully about their impact on others.
While both resident and non-resident direct contacts may leave the Island for travel, they should ensure receipt of a first negative test before travelling off-Island. Direct contacts can still attend vaccination appointments.
Household advice on isolating
Members of a household where a person is positive are not required to automatically isolate, but are encouraged to act responsibly and minimise their contact with others until they receive a third negative test result.
Where possible, positive individuals are strongly recommended to isolate separately from others in the house. If another member of the household develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately isolate and call the helpline for the COVID Safe team to arrange testing.
Isolating in a separate part of the accommodation:
- be in a separate room to other members of the household at all times, this includes sleeping in a different room
- do not share bathrooms or kitchen space at the same time. Use a rota, clean touch points between uses and ensure there is good ventilation.
Notification and testing
Direct contacts will now receive a text message confirming they are a direct contact of someone with COVID-19 and will receive test bookings. Islanders who are direct contacts are asked to be mindful of their behaviour and not visit higher risk settings while they are participating in the testing regime.
If any tests return positive, the direct contact will be notified by text message and/or email and must then immediately begin a 14-day isolation period. There is no further testing within this isolation period unless the individual is invited for a swab to send for variant sampling.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf said: “We expect to continue to see high case numbers of COVID-19 in the Island over the coming weeks. This means that Islanders have an increased likelihood of being a direct contact of someone positive with the virus.
“With expanding vaccination coverage, we are learning to live with and manage COVID in new ways. Cases are increasing, but the risk of severe illness and hospitalisation is lower due to the protection afforded by vaccination. We are strongly encouraging Islanders to adhere to public health guidance, particularly wearing masks in public places.
“This new direct contact guidance means people can more easily understand what they can do to reduce the likelihood of inadvertently passing COVID onto others. Direct contacts are advised to be mindful of the activities they take part in and the settings that they visit while they are being tested. Remember, positive cases can be identified days after the initial contact, so it’s important to follow the public health guidance.”
If anyone isolating does not have access to help and support through family or friends, they can call the Coronavirus helpline who will be able to support through the Connect Me service.
Guidance for Islanders and businesses will be available on www.gov.je.