Islanders putting off getting tested until after weekend

ISLANDERS are putting off getting tested at weekends, instead of following Public Health’s advice to get checked as soon as any Covid symptoms appear

Alderney States President William Tate and the States of Alderney meeting yesterday, with masks and social distancing. Chief executive Kath Jones and Greffier David Knight are on the left and William Tate is in the centre. A couple of members were absent due to other commitments. (Picture by David Nash)
Alderney States President William Tate and the States of Alderney meeting yesterday, with masks and social distancing. Chief executive Kath Jones and Greffier David Knight are on the left and William Tate is in the centre. A couple of members were absent due to other commitments. (Picture by David Nash)

Public Health nursing lead Alex Hawkins-Drew said it was vital to get tested as soon as possible when symptoms started to avoid putting others at risk.

The advice comes as Guernsey’s first community seeded case in months was detected.

A couple of Guernsey States members were wearing masks in the chamber yesterday, while in Alderney States all members were in masks and social distancing, as the northern island gets to grips with an outbreak.

While the community seeding cases in Alderney and Guernsey appears to be unconnected, the message to the Bailiwick community was that responding immediately to symptoms remains one of the most important thing that people can do, alongside practising good respiratory and hand hygiene.

Mrs Hawkins-Drew said public health had been prepared for community seeding.

‘The most vital part of our defence is the responsibility of people to isolate when feeling unwell and promptly coming forward for testing,’ she said.

‘Contact tracing can only be successful if people don’t wait to report symptoms and be tested.’

The clinical helpline consistently sees an increase in calls on Mondays, which suggests some people with symptoms choose not to report them until after the weekend.

Mrs Hawkins-Drew said it hoped to not see that trend continuing.

‘We understand that people don’t want to curtail any plans that they have, but at the same time I’m sure no one want to be in a situation where they are increasing the risk to the whole community, including those close to them,’ she said.

‘Going out and about when you are symptomatic may put others at risk.

'Please do not dismiss any symptoms, act immediately.

‘Covid isn’t going away and we are having to learn to live with it.

‘In the three weeks since relaxing our border restrictions in July we have only seen a small rise in cases in Guernsey, which is very positive.’

She noted that the Bailiwick’s contact tracing, surge testing and isolating had helped keep the Alderney outbreak under control.

‘We remain in a strong position, but everyone must remain vigilant,’ she said.

‘Throughout the pandemic we have always relied on a community-wide effort to help minimise risk, and that remains as important as ever.’

She reiterated that the island has very high testing capacity, which is targeted where it is most needed to minimise any risk of transmission within the community.

n At the first sense of feeling unwell with any of the recognised symptoms of Covid, individuals should stay at home and contact the clinical helpline on 756938 or 756969. This is essential even for those who are fully vaccinated – having received two doses of vaccinations administered within the UK or Crown Dependencies with 14 days since the second vaccination. At busy times, callers may have to wait to be put through to a call handler, but should stay on the line wherever possible.

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