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Final piece of virus testing kit is here

News | Published:

THE final piece of kit to establish Guernsey’s on-island coronavirus testing facility has arrived.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 27590874)

The equipment has been plumbed in, staff are being trained and checks need to be made to ensure the validity of the machinery.

It marks a huge step forward in the fight against Covid-19 in the Bailiwick because it means mass testing can be carried out eventually.

This will allow healthcare workers to quarantine people before they show signs of infection and stop the further spread of the virus.

Sending off samples to the UK has meant delays.

Civil Contingencies Authority chair Gavin St Pier said getting the equipment up and running was of the greatest importance.

‘It remains a top priority because “test, test, test” does underpin the strategy, so that obviously has been key for managing this crisis on the island.’

Public Health is also evaluating home coronavirus tests, which look like a pregnancy test and involves pricking a finger to produce a drop of blood, which is then checked by the device.

Deputy St Pier said they need to establish whether these brand new products work as they are claimed to.

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‘There are a whole array of different tests that are being developed and there are different protocols in countries around the world, so that is something that is being monitored.

‘So as and when the Public Health team have appraised all of that and decided what is most appropriate for the Guernsey community, they will have our unqualified support if they chose to modify the testing regime in any way as a result of future developments.’

Another positive update that came out last night was that ‘three supply lines have been secured’ for the personal protection equipment clothing, which includes masks, safety glasses, gloves, aprons and protective suits.

Thousands of these kits will now be available when needed for local healthcare workers.

On another front, a comprehensive pack will be going out to all over-65s on the island with lots of information about where they can get help, practicalities about food deliveries, and how they can look after themselves in isolation.

In a week of gloom and anxiety, the mood from the island’s leaders last night sounded cautiously optimistic that solid progress was being made in the battle against Covid-19.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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