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Retests ordered as covid lab glitches persist

Retests ordered as covid lab glitches persist

Monday 04 October 2021

Retests ordered as covid lab glitches persist


More than 350 people will have to be immediately retested, and unvaccinated passengers have been allowed to leave quarantine without a test result, as technical problems persist at the island’s main covid laboratory.

A backlog of 2,500 tests has built up since the Open Cell laboratory, which is based at the airport, began experiencing glitches on Thursday evening.

The figure was 3,000 as of yesterday, but some 500 fully vaccinated passengers have since left the island.

As some tests have been held longer than desired, the Government announced late last night that many people will now need to be retested over the next two days. 

This includes:

  • Symptomatic islanders – around 100 people are in this category. Their retests will be processed by the hospital lab within 24 hour,s and they have been asked to remain in isolation until a negative result is received.
  • Direct contacts – around 65 people over the age of 18 will need to be retested but do not need to isolate in the meantime. The 55 children currently named direct contacts will be allowed to return to school immediately, but it is recommended that they take a lateral flow test before.
  • Unvaccinated passengers – around 190 people will need to be retested, but have been allowed to leave quarantine because their test results will be sent off-island, taking around 36 hours to process.

Meanwhile, around 250 people awaiting the results of their workforce screening test will be tested again during the next cycle.

The Government said that a risk-assessment was carried out in advance of announcing the retests and removal of quarantine for unvaccinated travellers.

Deputy Chief Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham apologised for the “inconvenience” caused by the glitch.

““Our aim is to get people who test negative out of isolation as soon as possible and this is the fastest way to do so while the technical problems remain,” he said.

It follows calls last week from the Chamber of Commerce for the Government to make a decision on whether to remove border testing for fully vaccinated islanders.

Senator Farnham said last night: “Ministers are currently reviewing the Winter Strategy and the Safer Travel policy, and a further announcement will be made in the coming weeks.”

Open Cell's flatpack Covid Testing lab was first brought to Jersey in August 2020, to speed up the Government's rapid testing regime.

Previously, tests had to be processed off-island. Introducing the lab meant that Jersey was able to increase on-island testing capacity to 2,000 daily and slash waiting times for results.

Since April, the lab has also been processing commercial tests, having struck a deal with local pharmacies. It pledges results in 12 hours or less.

Recently, the turnaround time for PCR test results has been around seven hours.

Everyone in need of a retest has been contacted via email. Retests can be booked online or via the covid helpline: 0800 735 5566.

The Government has reminded everyone in isolation that they are allowed to spend up to two hours outdoors, and can also receive support via the Connect Me service.

READ MORE...

Tech glitches delay 2,000 covid test results

Samples sent off-island as covid test backlog hits 3,000

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