Source: Channel Islands – Jersey
15 July 2021
Ministers have agreed changes to the Island’s testing programme to better align with vaccination coverage and to prioritise symptomatic Islanders who require a test.
From Friday, 16 July at 00.01:
- Islanders who are direct contacts will only be required to take one test as soon as possible after they are identified as a direct contact. They do not need to isolate until they receive a negative result but should remain cautious in the activities they carry out for the following 10 days
- passengers arriving in Jersey who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to test on arrival (day 0) and isolate until they receive a negative test result but will no longer be required to undertake a day 8 test
- arrangements for fully vaccinated passengers are unchanged; they will still be required to undertake a test on arrival (day 0) and do not need to isolate
- Islanders who are part of the broadest employment group (Group C) of the Workforce Testing Programme will now progress to a weekly Lateral Flow Test (LFT) under the new Community Testing Programme, instead of a PCR test every eight weeks
- these new policies will apply to Islanders who are awaiting further tests based on previous policies, and so will receive a cancellation notification for any test bookings that are no longer required.
Islanders with symptoms of COVID-19 must immediately isolate and call the helpline to be prioritised for a test. This is particularly important if they are a direct contact.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “Our testing strategy has always used a risk-based approach, and our testing programme was designed to contain the spread of the virus, protect our borders and our Island community. As we have now entered a new phase in the vaccination protection, with 83% of first doses delivered to over-18s ahead of schedule, and on our way to delivering 80% of second doses in early August, we are repositioning our testing strategy to ensure our resources are being used to protect Islanders in the best possible way.
“The number of positive tests through our border testing programme is extremely low, with currently fewer than 1% of passengers tested returning positive results. We are also seeing low rates of positivity in Group C of our Workforce Testing Programme, which is the lowest risk employment group. So we are now moving this community away from PCR tests and offering workplaces LFT tests so they are to be able to test themselves.
“We know a third of symptomatic Islanders who call to the helpline seeking healthcare are positive with COVID. We also know that symptomatic COVID-positive Islanders are more likely to infect others. Therefore, the revision to the current strategy will ensure symptomatic Islanders and Islanders who are direct contacts will receive tests as quickly as possible when they are most needed.”
In addition, Ministers have clarified the guidance for direct contacts, in line with the new single test regime.
Islanders who are identified as direct contacts and do not have symptoms:
- do not need to isolate but must immediately do so if they develop symptoms
- should participate in the testing programme and have a test as soon as possible after being identified
- are not required to isolate until a negative result but should remain cautious in the activities they carry out for the 10 days after contact with a COVID-positive person.
- should attend vaccination appointments
- should minimise social contact and avoid crowded public spaces
- should work from home where possible and if agreed with employers
- should wear a mask in indoor public places, regularly wash hands and maintain physical distancing where possible.
Direct contacts who wish to attend medical appointments, the hospital or care homes:
- should not visit patients or residents in hospital or a care home for 10 days after they are informed they are a direct contact, even if they have received a negative test.
- however, providers may make exemptions if they wish to visit people who are seriously ill or in end of life care, if partners are attending antenatal appointments or childbirth or for assigned chaperones supporting vulnerable patients with appointments. (Providers will generally not exempt direct contacts who have not received a negative test)
- should wait for a negative test before attending a medical appointment, a GP practice or dental surgery, unless the appointment is urgent and cannot be held over the phone.
- should always inform the care provider if they have been told they are a direct contact within the previous 10 day period, even if they have had a negative test, so the provider can decide whether or not the appointment should be deferred.
- may leave the Island but it is recommended that they have received a negative test before doing so. They should also check restrictions that may apply at their destination or any countries they may be transiting through.