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Jersey edges closer to covid "tipping point"

Jersey edges closer to covid

Saturday 07 November 2020

Jersey edges closer to covid "tipping point"


The Government says that Jersey is “bordering the line” that leads to a rise in out-of-control covid clusters and the island will only “hold the line” if all islanders act now.

Jersey is close to a “tipping point” and the message is stark: stick to the rules or face another lockdown.

At a press conference on Friday, the Government's message was particularly targeted at young people, who have been the source of most recent clusters.

When asked by Express whether the Government had any specific programme to take their message to young people, the Chief Minister only referred to letters and emails that schools had sent out to parents. 

However, he added that he had been part of a discussion on Thursday about how the Government could "get the message out to young people in a slightly different way" and he had instructed the Communications Unit to come up with a plan. 

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Pictured: A diagram showing Jersey's "escalation winter framework". The island has moved from "Isolated clusters" to the central diamond, so is moving towards taking a "pandemic response" - which means, in effect, another lockdown.

The number of cases in the island hit 106 yesterday, as the seasonal virus strengthens and the impact of half-term parties and other ‘super-spreading’ gatherings of young people help pass the virus on through classes and year groups.   

At yesterday's press conference, Health Minister Richard Renouf said: “We will continue to see an increase in the number of covid-19 cases, but what we do not want to see is an increase in clusters and outbreaks. 

“Knowing the patterns of cases is fundamental to the level of action the Government will need to take to protect the public, this includes introducing mandatory requirements by law. 

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Pictured: The percentage of positive tests to overall tests. Jersey has now creeped up from 0.7% to 1%, although it remains far below the other countries included. 

"We are bordering the line that leads to a rise in those concerning case patterns. We can hold this line if we all react now. Please think about protecting our Island and preventing the virus spreading in every decision you take.”

As well as the known cases, there are around 800 people who have been in direct contact with someone infected. This month, up to 5 November, there had been eight 'outbreak' incidents where the source of the infection couldn’t be identified. Those eight incidents had led to 24 positive cases. A workforce social event and a party at a venue are being investigated as potential sources of clusters.

There were also eight incidents in October where the original source of transmission couldn’t be identified. These had led to 43 positive cases over the month. Events or places which caused clusters of cases were a workforce dinner party and a healthcare site.

Deputy Medical Officer of Health Dr Ivan Muscat told the press conference that the percentage of positive cases to number of tests had recently risen from 0.7% to 1%.

He added: “An increase in the number of cases and unknown source cases, super-spreading events and multiple cases arising across the Island gives us an overall picture, which will tell us whether targeted responses on our part - which is identifying cases, quarantining them and looking at their direct contacts and beyond - is enough to contain covid. 

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Pictured: Jersey is seeing more cases where the source of transmission can't be identified.

“Once we start feeling that we can’t contain covid with that targeted response, together with maximising public health measures, then we need to start looking at pan-island, harsher measures. That is when the tipping point will occur. 

“For the moment, we are at a point where targeted measures, together people to applying public health measures across the board, are properly applied, we will still manage to change the direction of travel. 

“But we can’t do this by ourselves; we can’t just rely on case-finding to manage the problem. We need people to work with us to ensure they reduce the risk of spreading covid by their actions.”

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Posted by SimonBevens28 on
Make the starting fine for a first offence £1000 with £10k for a second.
Crack down hard on parties of entitled kids
Give £500 reward to people who report gatherings
Stop letting in 'special cases' without isolation before a clear result
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