Coronavirus: Around 3,300 Islanders Infected

Around 3,300 people may have contracted coronavirus in Jersey so far, with about 3.1% of the population developing antibodies, according to analysis of serology test results.

Around 700 private households were contacted, either by letter or phone, to undergo the finger pin prick blood test which show if someone has had coronavirus and developed antibodies to fight the disease.

Of those 700, 438 households and 855 people all over the age of 16 took the test which equates to a response rate of 63% and 65% respectively. Those households didn't include care homes or commercial properties.

Around 70 households took the test at home as they couldn't attend one of the three testing sites. They all received the test results at the time with a fact sheet showing what the results meant. That data was then anonymised and sent to Statistics Jersey for analysis.

The test kits have been described as having 'relatively poor sensitivity' meaning that as many as 1 in 3 of those tested may have received a false negative result. However, Statistics Jersey says that can be compensated for in respect of the broad population monitoring that the study is trying to achieve.

The devices detect the presence of two types of antibodies:

* IgM: Can be detected 7-10 days after infection and show someone is currently suffering with coronavirus

* IgG: Shows recent or past infection

A combined result was used, so someone who tested positive for either IgM or IgG (or both) was deemed as testing positive for the presence of Covid antibodies.

It's suggested, from these results, that around 3.1% of the island's population have developed those antibodies.

Statistics Jersey says the prevalence rate implies that the total number of cases in the population is around 2,700, but because of those excluded from the study such as care home residents, if the prevalence rate was applied to everyone, that would equate to around 3,300 cases.

By age:

* 16-34: 3%

* 35-44: 2%

* 45-54: 0.6%

* 55-64: 4.1%

* 65+: 6.6%

It's estimated that 3.7% are male and 2.5% are female.

"I would like to thank Islanders who took part in the survey, the healthcare workers, who carried out the antibody tests, and Statistics Jersey for their detailed work. It has created a helpful picture of how Covid-19 has spread through our community. It is estimated that about 3,300 Islanders have been infected to date.

"The fact that only a small proportion of the Island population has been infected shows that we have been successful so far in containing the outbreak.

"This data will help us to decide how and when to safely lift restrictions. The low levels of infection to date show that a significant proportion of Islanders remain at risk of infection. Therefore, it is important that we do not rush into easing lockdown fully, but base our decisions on continued, detailed analysis. We are planning further antibody testing in the weeks to come so we can create a fuller picture of how the virus is moving through the Island.

"The Government has also committed to increasing the number of Covid-19 tests, which detect whether someone is currently infected with coronavirus, to 500 a day. Both this diagnostic test, and the antibody test, are essential in ensuring that we have the fullest, most up-to-date information. It is this information which will allow us to decide how best to continue responding to the coronavirus pandemic." - Deputy Richard Renouf, Health Minister.

There is no evidence currently to show that someone who has developed antibodies is now immune to the virus.

The households who took part in this survey will be tested again every four weeks to show a picture of how the virus is spreading through the community.

These results are set to be used as one of many factors to decide whether Jersey will move onto the next phase of exiting lockdown.

That decision will be announced by the Chief Minister next Monday (11 May).

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