Masks and regular flow tests now recommended

ALL islanders are being recommended to do regular lateral flow tests and wear masks in indoor spaces, as Guernsey’s Covid active cases rapidly rise to 233.

Pharmacist Folarin Akinyemi at Co-op Pharmacy Locale in the Commercial Arcade. The demand has shot for masks today after the announcement that face masks and coverings are again recommended for use in indoor spaces due to a rise in Covid-19 cases on island. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30115215)
Pharmacist Folarin Akinyemi at Co-op Pharmacy Locale in the Commercial Arcade. The demand has shot for masks today after the announcement that face masks and coverings are again recommended for use in indoor spaces due to a rise in Covid-19 cases on island. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30115215)

Nearly half of these cases are in under-18s, with the largest age group affected being 10 to 14-year-olds, with about 45 cases.

While the number of people in hospital with Covid is expected to drop to just one today, director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said she expected a rise in hospitalisations in the coming weeks.

There were 34 new cases found on Wednesday – the highest number in a single day since the second wave.

‘Just looking at that peak of infection, we would expect to see more admissions in eight to 10 days’ time,’ she said.

All locally-sequenced viruses have been the Delta variant, and there have also been some Delta-plus variants – which could be more contagious than its predecessor.

Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Peter Ferbrache said people should now use LFTs twice a week.

‘We don’t want them to be a burden to people,’ he said.

‘But we want people, as I’m sure they will in the Bailiwick, to act responsibly.’

It is also recommended that face masks are worn in many indoor settings.

‘We’ve got to adapt to living with Covid,’ Deputy Ferbrache said.

‘What we are trying to do is balance our community with guidance... They [masks] will undoubtedly reduce the number of transmissions, especially as we go into winter and we’re all going to spend more time indoors.’

He said the Bailiwick’s vaccination rate – with 80% of all islanders having had at least one jab – was ‘truly excellent’ and ‘world-leading’.

‘But it’s about probabilities,’ he said.

Dr Brink said some people were continuing to mix in the community after having symptoms. She said it was vitally important that people were responsible and get tested and self-isolate if they show symptoms.

She added that LFTs were not a substitute for PCR tests.

Vaccination is continuing, with booster programmes for older or vulnerable islanders and healthcare workers, with 4,700 jabs given so far.

Vaccinating of under-18s is also progressing. So far, 78% of 16 and 17-year-olds have had at least one jab.

The 12 to 15-year-old vaccination programme was launched about 10 days ago. So far, 405 of the 2,100 teenagers in this age groups have received a jab, and another 250 are expected this weekend.

There had been concerns Guernsey could be set for another lockdown.

But Dr Brink said that was very unlikely. The PEH is currently full, but Dr Brink said the new measures should proactively lower new cases. While new cases have risen sharply, especially among young people, Dr Brink said they had expected this and there had been no school closures.

‘We always knew we would see a surge of cases,’ she said.

‘I think what we are seeing now is a trajectory, which is upward, which we want to slow down to make sure that we don’t overwhelm our facilities.’

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