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17 cases confirmed

17 cases confirmed

Saturday 21 March 2020

17 cases confirmed


There are now 17 patients in the Bailiwick confirmed to have contracted covid-19 as the pandemic takes a stronger hold on the islands.

Each of those 17 people live in Guernsey, and the 15 most recent to have tested positive all received their results back between 16:30 on Friday 20 March and 18:15 today.

The 15 new cases are all in people with what is described as "a clear travel history" as they have recently returned from the UK, France, Tenerife, Mainland Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

They all became symptomatic with a cough, fever or shortness of breath on their return.

The Director of Public Health said all of the patients have followed advice issued by Public Health Services and self-isolated as soon as they showed any symptoms. 

"They sought help promptly and are being supported by healthcare professionals."

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The latest test results are all from samples taken between 17 and 19 March, while Public Health Services says it is still waiting for the results of tests taken between 11 and 14 March.

These samples were sent to the laboratory in Birmingham that HSC uses. However, "due to the situation in the UK regarding sampling, the laboratory were unable to process these for us and sent them to another laboratory in Colindale. These samples are in a batch of around 500 samples (from across the UK) which are still awaiting processing."

Dr Nicola Brink director public health coronavirus

Pictured: Dr Nicola Brink address the delay in getting some test results back from the UK at a press conference earlier this week. 

Dr Nicola Brink said the latest positive test results are not surprising and that Guernsey is prepared for this. 

"Guernsey has prepared for COVID-19 using World Health Organisation guidelines for managing a pandemic, that is you design your response so that it is specific to your local jurisdiction. Guernsey included countries on its Group A and Group B lists for affected areas much sooner than Public Health England. We took into account our ageing demographic and the number who have holiday homes in France and Mainland Spain. This has allowed us to design a Bailiwick specific response. It is encouraging that our more cautious approach has resulted in us picking up these cases.

"As we face an increasingly difficult time, it is important that we continue to plan and adapt to ensure that our response is right for the Bailiwick. For example, we are able to increase the number of people in our Tracing Unit so we can manage the contacts around these new individual positive cases."

Gavin St Pier coronavirus

Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier said the measures brought in over the last week are aimed at curbing the spread of corona virus, but everyone must stick to the rules together for it to work. 

Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee said:

"It is clear that the nature of spread of COVID-19 has changed and more and more cases are being identified globally. This is exactly as Dr Brink and her team had predicted through their modelling and has been used as the basis for recent decisions such as closing our borders to non-essential travel, the temporary closing of schools early for Easter and the change in the licensing rules for pubs and clubs.

"Whilst these restrictive measures are viewed by some as an inconvenience, the results that we have received over the last 24 hour starkly demonstrate why those decisions have been made.

"Additional resources have been made available to support Public Health and I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved. They are working incredibly hard to do their utmost to support our community.

"Let’s be clear, we know and have always known that we will have more positive cases in Guernsey but the good news is we have no cases of transmission within the community and so remain in the ‘contain’ phase of our plan."

Heidi Soulsby coronavirus

Pictured: Deputy Heidi Soulsby has warned the outbreak in Guernsey must be managed so as not to overwhelm the staff and resources at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. 

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care said:

"These are not the last difficult and impactful decisions we will have to make whilst we fight to protect our community from COVID-19. It is essential that people listen to the advice we are issuing regarding hand washing, social distancing and self- isolation.

"Now is the time for everyone to consider their behaviour and how this can impact on the more vulnerable members of our community and the older population.

"We only have one hospital and a small health and care infrastructure. The behaviour of our community will either protect that infrastructure or bring it to its knees. We cannot send patients off Island as UK hospitals are full. No single member of our hospital services team wants to be in a position where we are having to decide who to treat because of a lack of resources.

"Everyone absolutely must work with us and pull together as a community to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Further updates on the Bailiwick's test results will be posted directly to gov.gg/coronavirus and will updated at 09:00 daily.

 

 

 

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