All Covid tests could be carried out in the Island ‘within weeks’

WAITING times for coronavirus tests could be cut within a matter of weeks as the government moves to analyse all samples in Jersey rather than sending them to the UK, the Health Minister has said.

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29444437)
Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29444437)

Deputy Richard Renouf made the comments in the States yesterday while responding to a question from Deputy Carina Alves about why some Islanders were having to wait up to 48 hours to receive the results of their day-five tests, carried out on ‘green’ and ‘amber’ travellers.

The minister said that nearly all samples will soon be dealt with by the government’s new laboratory, based at the Aero Club, which had an average turnaround time of eight-to-12 hours.

He added that the facility was currently handling around 1,000 tests every day but had capacity for up to 2,000.

‘The day-five tests are, in the main, conducted off-Island with an average 29-hour turnaround time.

‘We would hope to be able to conduct all these tests [in Jersey] in a matter of weeks. It is a careful graduation of the on-Island testing facility.

‘The report I have is perhaps a week old but all was going well with the process and, within a matter of weeks, we hope to have all tests dealt with in Jersey.’

All arrivals into Jersey are tested when they land at the Airport and require a subsequent test five days after arriving. Tests are also carried out after eight days for people who have been in direct contact with someone infected or for people who are showing symptoms of Covid and are already in isolation.

Deputy Renouf then explained that the Island was currently using four different laboratories, all with varying turnaround times.

‘One is the on-Island Hospital Laboratory which has an average one-to-two hour turnaround time and that is used to test hospital admissions and symptomatic hospital patients.

‘The on-Island Covid laboratory which is situated at the Aero Club has an average turnaround time of eight-to-12 hours and at the moment that is testing day-zero tests from inbound travellers,’ he said.

‘The off-Island private laboratory has on average a 29-hour turnaround time and it is to that laboratory that most symptomatic community cases who are already in isolation are sent. We aim that in a short while that our laboratory at the Aero Club is able to conduct all tests that are needed in the Island.’

Deputy Renouf added that there was also a fourth laboratory used for workforce tests which is based in the UK and has an average 35-hour turnaround time.

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