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WATCH: Coronavirus: 91 confirmed cases

News | Published: | Last Updated:

SIXTEEN residents and eleven members of staff in one Guernsey care home have tested positive for Covid-19.

Left to right: Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink, HSC medical director Dr Peter Rabey. Picture by Sophie Rabey. 01-04-20 (27834255)

All of those residents are being treated within the care home, which has not been named.

It has brought the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Bailiwick to 91.

At today's press conference, the medical director, Dr Peter Rabey, outlined the efforts that were taking place to support this residential home.

'One of our GPs went into the home yesterday and did assessments on everybody in the home to get everybody's care plans up to date, and he's got input from geriatricians back at the hospital so we're seeing a great response from our primary care team with this, and there's a community homes cell that has been set up that was meeting virtually as we started this press conference to talk through the issues about the care homes everyday, and they're in constant communication.'

On-island testing is now up and running, but the capacity has been impacted by the worldwide shortage of 'reagents', or chemicals which are needed for the tests.

The island's health authorities are also assessing other types of tests called 'anti-body' tests.

Put simply, these should be able to identify whether someone has had it, rather than the antigen test which shows whether someone has got it.

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'Test, test, test' remains the mantra of the local authorities as they battle coronavirus, and the director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink said more comprehensive testing is the goal.

'I would love to do really widespread testing but I've got to be cognisant of the resources that we have and try to focus those on where we need them most, we could do far more testing on-island, but there is a worldwide shortage of the reagents, so we need to make sure that we focus the testing on where it is going to most beneficial, and as such we've developed a testing strategy that enables us on an evidence base to look at where we should target our testing.'

Of the 91 cases, there is now only one person being treated at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

Earlier this week the Bailiwick's first coronavirus-related death was announced, a person in their 80s lost their life and the island's authorities have expressed their sincere condolences.

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With further cases of transmission on island the strategy is now moving from the containment phase into the delay phase and the number of people employed as 'contact tracers' has been increased.

Plans to further expand the number of hospital beds on the island are also being considered, and the press conference heard that 'all options' were on the table.

A delivery of personal protection equipment kits, including masks, goggles and gloves, arrived on the island today, but it is being 'controlled carefully' because of the worldwide shortages.

On day 7 of the island's lockdown there is no sign yet of when it could be lifted, the island's most senior politician, Deputy Gavin St Pier said it was under constant review.

Meanwhile the economic impact has been felt hard by local businesses.

Some 1,100 enquiries have been made about the island's hardship fund.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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