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Government steps up variant testing

Government steps up variant testing

Thursday 01 July 2021

Government steps up variant testing


The covid-19 testing team has started taking two swabs from islanders showing symptoms of illness so that there is a sample ready for variant testing in case of a positive result.

Previously, islanders who had received a positive result to their test were asked to come back for a second swab that was then sent for sequencing to test for variants.

The Government confirmed last December that they were sending examples of positives to a UK laboratory for analysis, to monitor which variants are present in Jersey.

Those tests confirmed in May that a small number of travellers had the more transmissible Delta variant of covid-19. It also emerged in STAC minutes last week that covid with a vaccine-resistant mutation had also been discovered in the island in March

As cases continue to rise in the island – the latest statistics showed 250 cases and more than 2,300 direct contacts – it appears the Government is seeking to accelerate the process. 

“We have recently started taking two swabs from some individuals,” Director of Testing and Tracing, Rachel Williams explained. “This enables us to send the second swab for ‘sequencing’, if the first test is positive, to establish the possible presence of variants.

“We will focus these double swab samples initially on people who are symptomatic. This will provide a better experience for them, as we won’t need to visit them a second time while they are unwell to take a follow-up swab for sequencing.”

All of the samples taken from islanders who have tested positive will now be sent for sequencing. Back in January, there were only 10 samples sent weekly.

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Pictured: Dr Ivan Muscat, the Deputy Medical Officer for Health.

Yesterday, Dr Ivan Muscat, the Deputy Medical Officer for Health, wrote to parents and carers informing them of the new isolation rules for school children as well as providing a reminder of covid-19 symptoms.

He also reminded that pupils who have covid-19 symptoms should not attend school, nursery or other childcare settings and must self-isolate with all members of their household. 

"The three classic main symptoms of covid-19 are a new continuous cough, fever/high temperature and a change or loss of smell and/or taste," he wrote.

However, with the new delta variant, a runny nose, sore throat and headache are frequently seen as well and indeed may be the predominant or only symptoms. Diarrhoea and vomiting can also be a feature of Covid-19 and are more common in children than adults."

For more information on covid-19 symptoms click HERE.

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Posted by Scott Mills on
Wonder when we going to have the "Epsilon" variant. Where's that going to suddently appear. Will we have 5 swabs by then for sequencing and a better "experience" (they are very kind). Still we got lovely beaches
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