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COMMENT: Your testing questions answered

COMMENT: Your testing questions answered

Friday 03 April 2020

COMMENT: Your testing questions answered

The Committee for Health & Social Care says it is very aware that everyone is interested in how testing for covid-19 is carried out, so staff have answered some 'FAQs'.

The update below, provided to Express by HSC, is in their own words.

PEH hospital hsc

Pictured: Guernsey's centre of health care, the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. 

The Committee for Health & Social Care is aware that islanders are very interested in how testing for COVID-19 is carried out. This update provides information on our current capacity. This will change as more reagent, the chemicals needed to run the test, arrives on- island which will increase our capacity to test the samples locally.

The on-Island testing facility was commissioned for use last weekend (28 March) and has the capacity to process 40 samples per day. We still have capacity at the laboratory in Colindale who have agreed to process 35 samples a day.

Initially testing was limited to those who had returned to the Bailiwick from an affected area who showed symptoms of COVID-19. Now we have on-Island testing equipment we are able to expand our testing to the following group of patients:

  • Up to 30 patients attending the Longfrie Surgery with symptoms consistent with COVID-19;
  • All patients who are admitted to the hospital or attend the Emergency Department with respiratory symptoms;
  • Any other patient in the community, for example in a residential and nursing home, where the GP is concerned about possible COVID-19;
  • Any other urgent requests such as to release emergency crews who are contacts of suspected cases.

We continue to offer testing for those people who return to the Bailiwick who are symptomatic (fever, cough or shortness of breath) and those who we identify as symptomatic contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19. These tests are carried out at a drive-through testing facility at the harbour.

Anyone who is confirmed as being COVID-19 positive is subject to a Compulsory Self- Isolation order and they, and anyone else in their households, are required to stay at home and self-isolate. The individual with the positive diagnosis must stay away from other household members. Public Health Services will provide more detailed guidance at the time the positive case is confirmed. Family members will also be tested if they develop symptoms.

Positive cases will be re-tested, now on day 14 or 48 hours after the last symptoms have resolved, whichever is latest in order to lift the Compulsory Self-Isolation order. If the test is negative then the person is released from the Compulsory Self-Isolation Order. However, the person continues to be to be subject to same lockdown rules as the general population.

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