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Coronavirus Breaks Out In Jersey Care Home

17 residents in a Jersey care home have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Health Minister says they are all self-isolating in their individual rooms, are stable and responding well to treatment.

They are being treated by GPs who have been given the 'appropriate PPE'.

Deputy Richard Renouf says the spread of COVID-19 in care homes cannot be stopped, but its spread can be mitigated.

"Symptomatic staff have been advised to remain absent from work and call the helpline if they are experiencing any fever or respiratory symptoms. Other residents are being tested as a precaution and are also self-isolating within their respective rooms.

"Sadly, we cannot prevent the spread of coronavirus in care homes, but we can mitigate the way in which it can be spread. We have previously said that we expect up to 80% of Islanders to catch the virus. However, what is in our control is to flatten the curve – to extend the period of time in which we see positive cases of COVID-19.

"This allows us to treat patients, and therefore, save more lives."

In a statement, The Minister has also insisted that there is enough PPE 'for those organisations that need it'.

There has been major concerns that there isn't enough to go around and that health workers are subsequently at risk.

"By following these (Public Health) guidelines, we will ensure we use PPE in the most effective way to help the Island to balance the current challenges of global supply and demand pressures on PPE. We need to ensure we use the stocks we have appropriately so that our staff and patients can remain safe.

"Updated guidance on what PPE to wear and when was distributed to all care home in Jersey on Friday 3 April. This guidance is recirculated as and when updated, in line with Public Health guidelines. It is also clear that wearing PPE does not mean that staff should not be washing their hands frequently – they are advised to wash them immediately before and after attending to residents.

"In addition, the frequency of cleaning has been stepped up in care homes, with special attention paid to horizontal surfaces and touch points. Please be assured that my team in Health and Community Services is doing everything we can to maintain stocks of PPE supplies on-island.

"HCS is committed to openness and transparency in its handling of COVID-19, and I thank the public for their continuous support of our frontline health care workers."

The equipment is being delivered to nursing and care homes, while hot drop packages are also being delivered when a suspected case is reported - those packages include masks, gloves, gowns and aprons.

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