Seven day Covid-19 testing on Alderney could take place at a drive in facility at the Butes and as things stand will come with a price tag – but negotiations are ongoing as to what that may run to.
Seven day testing for arrivals from group B countries – which currently includes the UK – is to be available in Alderney from September 3rd.
Arrivals would be tested on day seven after arrival on an appointment basis, likely to take place in the morning at a drive in, drive out facility.
Participants will be swabbed and will isolate until their tests are processed, which, weather permitting, will be within 72 hours.
Dr Sally Simmons, Clinical Director of the Island Medical Centre, said as things stood a cost would be attached to cover the cost of the test itself, around £60, plus consumables, administrative time and transporting the swab to Guernsey.
Alderney did not join Guernsey in moving to stage 5b of exit from lockdown on August 17th because with only three GPs covering surgery work, home visits, emergency call outs and the hospital, there was not the capacity to do home visit testing. The IMC is now working with the Committee for Health and Social Care to recruit residents with a medical background who will be trained up to take swabs.
Dr Simmons said they were now confident they would be geared up to begin testing from September 3rd.
‘HSC have been very supportive and are now offering to train additional staff. So we are looking for people with background in some kind of healthcare, so healthcare assistants, fire and rescue and ambulance volunteers, looking at them coming forward to help do the swabbing so we will be moving forward to that on 3rd September.’
So what will the process look like?
Dr Simmons said:
‘We are looking at testing in the mornings, by appointment, so we can get the swabs off on the morning flight so hopefully we will get results fairly quickly. The person will have to stay in isolation until we get a negative result back and then have to follow passive follow up.’
The location for testing is still being determined.
‘It’s got to be drive in and drive out and at the moment we are looking at the Butes but we will have to finalise that with the police. For people who don’t drive or don’t have cars, we are hoping to talk to taxi drivers – this is what has been done in Guernsey. Guernsey are also saying if you can’t do the drive in which will be done on an appointment basis that you may then have to stick with the 14 day isolation.
‘ We will go to their house of people who are disabled or shielding, but that requires additional human resources so we are working on that.’
A cost will be attached to testing – initially put in the region of £100. However negotiations between the IMC and HSC are currently taking place to achieve better parity with what is happening in Guernsey where testing is free.
Dr Simmons said:
‘There are consumables that the IMC will have to pay for, plus administrative time and sending the swabs to Guernsey. But negotiations are in hand and we will receive more advice from Guernsey in terms of how we manage the final costing.’