Twice-weekly Covid tests for law enforcement and teachers

POLICE, Guernsey Border Agency staff and early years providers are now undergoing regular lateral flow tests in a bid to detect any outbreak of Covid-19 as early as possible.

(Ben Birchall/PA)
(Ben Birchall/PA)

Testing for teachers starts next week, before the school holidays end.

A States spokesman said that 75,000 lateral flow tests had been received.

‘The number using these tests will increase in mid-April when the schools go back after the Easter break, and education staff will be required to test using lateral flow tests twice a week.'

Some 9,000 were carried out at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital drive-through facility, care homes and home visits (for those who are symptomatic, contacts of cases, ante-natal, critical travellers, and pre-operative) in January.

In February, that figure rose to 9,466 and in March it was 5,082.

‘Public Health is taking a proportionate approach to community surveillance testing,’ the spokesman said.

‘This is assessed regularly as we know the situation can change very quickly.’

In light of the fact that there are no active cases of Covid-19 in the Bailiwick and no cases are being picked up at the border through travellers, the States is confident that the number of tests being carried out is appropriate at this time.

The States provided the Guernsey Press with details of how the PCR testing has been progressing this year.

In January, 1,616 Covid tests were conducted on travellers, reducing to around half that number in February while the island was in full lockdown and border restrictions were tighter.

In March, the number of tests picked up to 917 and, so far in April, 431 have been carried out on travellers.

Surveillance testing in areas such as education, hostelry, transport and retail saw 316 swabs in January and in excess of 10,000 in both February and March.

So far this month, 332 tests have been undertaken as part of Public Health’s surveillance testing, which aims to hunt down potential cases in the community through targeted groups.

Lateral flow testing began on 22 March and involves twice-weekly self-swabs from people in various sectors to further reduce the risk of undetected infection.

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