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Zero known covid cases in Guernsey

Zero known covid cases in Guernsey

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Zero known covid cases in Guernsey


There are now zero known cases of covid-19 in Guernsey - but the island isn't certain it has kicked out the virus just yet, as more may be identified through an extended testing programme now underway.

It comes more than two months after the virus was first recorded in the Bailiwick on 9 March.

The island went into lockdown shortly after, from which it is now emerging as part of a six-step plan.

It is due to hit Phase Four on Saturday, which includes the reopening of hairdressers and other salons, as well as more shops, cinemas and museums, subject to physical distancing guidelines being followed.

Then from next week, Guernsey people will also be able to visit the island of Sark. Jersey, however, has been excluded from the Bailiwick travel bubble.

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Pictured: Jersey has been excluded from a Channel Islands travel bubble.

Guernsey's Public Health team announced the news of there being zero known cases this lunchtime, confirming the last patient to be testing positive for the virus has now been given the all-clear.

They were one of 252 people to test postive for the potentially fatal virus during March and April. No one has tested postive for the virus in 27 days.

Sadly, during the time the virus was prevalent in Guernsey, 13 people who tested positive for the virus died, while three further deaths were also presumed to be linked to covid-19.

While there are currently no active cases of covid-19 in the Bailiwick, 24 people are waiting for test results and anyone with any symptoms - however minor - are encouraged to go for testing.

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Pictured: The statistics released by the States on Wednesday 27 May.

Dr Nicola Brink, the Director of Public Health, said while she is pleased with today's news, they're not being complacent.

"This is great news for the Bailiwick and is testament to how well the community have worked with us to manage the impact of the virus in the Bailiwick. However, we must not be complacent. An extended testing programme is now in place to search out cases of covid-19 in those who may be asymptomatic.

"The initial focus has been to test health care workers but will expanded to cover other groups in the community. Islanders should be prepared for this expanded testing programme to identify positive cases. This is a good thing as it means we are identifying asymptomatic cases and contact tracing quickly to avoid the virus spreading more widely. If anyone has any symptoms, however mild, they must come forward to be tested.

"Please don’t think you don’t want to adversely influence our results. We know we will get more positives and that is a good thing. If we know about them we can track and trace and contain them to protect the rest of the community."

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Pictured: The key figures leading the island's virus response - Paul Whitfield, Health President Deputy Heidi Soulsby, Chief Minister Deputy Gavin St Pier, Public Health Head Dr Nicola Brink, and Dr Peter Rabey.

Ahead of Guernsey reaching zero active cases today, it had already been confirmed that the island would enter Level 4 of its lockdown exit strategy this Saturday.

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health and Social Care said that is also not a reason for complacency.

"This is a milestone for the community and reflects the fantastic #GuernseyTogether approach to COVID-19. As we enter the next phase of expanding our testing programme, I would urge Islanders to continue to listen to the public health advice and to come forward for testing if they show any symptoms, however mild, or are invited to be tested as part of the extended programme.

"Our strategy remains the same ‘test, trace and quarantine’. It continues to be effective as evidenced in the lack of new positives and no active known cases. As we transition through the phases to exit from lockdown, this proactive testing in our community is key to managing the virus and protecting islanders."

Public Health has not yet said the virus has been eliminated in the Bailiwick amid concerns there may be some asymptomatic patients in the community who have not yet been found.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority said following public health guidance will ensure we can keep the number of cases as low as possible.

"Whilst this is excellent news, we cannot assume that COVID-19 has gone away. As we move to Phase 4 at the weekend it is essential that everyone understands the need to maintain social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. We are moving to a ‘new normal’ where we all need to have increased awareness of our personal space and hygiene.

"Whilst the concept of bubbles and extended bubbles changes in Phase 4, people MUST maintain social distancing. The easing of restrictions in Phase 4 doesn’t come without risk. People will need to take personal responsibility for managing that risk.

"Government will provide further guidance and information but the community need to be aware of, and consider the general principles of social distancing and public health measures in Phase 4."

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