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Gov bringing PCR test processing in-house

Gov bringing PCR test processing in-house

Thursday 04 November 2021

Gov bringing PCR test processing in-house

A new laboratory is due to start operating at the hospital next week as part of Government plans to bring covid test-processing in-house.

The Government contracted with UK company ‘Open Cell’ to set up a ‘flatpack’ testing lab at Jersey Airport to process PCR tests undertaken on the island last August.

Set in a shipping container on Ports of Jersey land, the lab allowed the island to slash test turnaround times from around 48 hours to 12 or fewer, with up to 2,000 tests able to be processed each day. Earlier this year, it also began processing commercial tests.

But the Government is now looking to bring the public health test processing in-house, and officials confirmed to Express that a new lab at the hospital is “in its final stages of preparation” and should be operational from next week.

It was due to open more than a month ago, but delays were encountered “due to supply chain and IT issues”.

The future of the Open Cell lab at the airport remains unclear, however. Express understands that it is due to close next year, raising potential difficulties for islanders who require a rapidly processed commercial PCR test to travel abroad.

Border Testing.jpg

Pictured: The current testing facility is located on land owned by Ports of Jersey adjacent to the Jersey Aero Club.

The Government has confirmed to Express that it would continue to process tests conducted for public health purposes over the Christmas period, but would not confirm if commercial tests would be processed.

"The Government's COVID-19 testing lab is open every day of the year, to process PCR tests taken for public health purposes," a spokesperson said.

"Pre-departure tests for Islanders traveling off Island are currently not provided by Government, they are provided by private providers such as GPs and Pharmacies. Mail order PCR tests are also available to order online. These have a guaranteed turnaround time for results.”

Express has asked the Government and Open Cell for comment about the closure of the laboratory and the exact date, and is awaiting a reply.

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