Jersey’s government has committed to an increase in both PCR testing – which establishes whether someone currently has the virus – and serology testing which are designed to establish whether someone has had Covid-19 and developed antibodies.
Essential workers will be given the priority when it comes to the increased testing with those deemed most at risk of coming into contact with the virus being tested first. These include patient-facing health and care workers, police, fire and prison officers, health and social care workers, customs and immigration staff and funeral directors.
Those who have been identified will be able to book a test at either the Five Oaks testing centre of the newly opened testing centre in the Jersey Airport car park. Mobile testing units will also be available.
On average, they will receive their results within 48 hours. Any essential workers who test positive for Covid-19 will be required to self-isolate, along with members of their household, in line with the standard guidance and contact tracing will then be undertaken.
Meanwhile, increased antibody testing will be made available to workers who have had to remain at work during the stay at home guidance. This will include teachers, cleaners, supermarket staff and utility workers.
Antibody testing began earlier this month when a small sample of randomly selected households were invited to undertake a finger-prick blood test to determine whether they had developed antibodies to Covid-19.
It is hoped that the data collected from the serology testing will allow for further analysis of how wide the virus has spread in the Island.
Health Minister Richard Renouf said: ‘Testing remains a key component of our strategy to combat the spread of Covid-19, and we are expanding our programme of testing accordingly.
‘The data we receive will not only inform the big decisions around how we control the pandemic in the coming months, it will also allow us to keep essential workers and their families safe and reduce the number of transmissions within the community.
‘I’d like to thank all of the staff across government who have worked so hard to increase our capacity to test more Islanders, including those who have worked to establish a new testing centre at the car park at Jersey Airport.’