The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Guernsey has risen by 15 in a 24 hour period - taking the total number in the Channel Islands to 32.

However, Public Health Services say they are still waiting for the results of tests taken between 11 and 14 March 2020.

These samples were sent to the laboratory in Birmingham that HSC uses. However, due to the situation in the UK regarding sampling, the laboratory were unable to process these for us and sent them to another laboratory in Colindale. These samples are in a batch of around 500 samples (from across the UK) which are still awaiting processing.

Statement from States of Guernsey

The overall number of confirmed cases in Guernsey now stands at 17. The government is still awaiting 61 results.

The test results received in the last 24 hours are from samples taken between 17 and 19 March 2020.

Guernsey's government says all of the 15 positive cases have a "clear travel history" and have recently returned from the UK, France, Tenerife, Mainland Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Each person became symptomatic (a cough, fever or shortness of breath) on their return and followed Public Health advice by self-isolating as soon as they showed any symptoms.

They sought help promptly and are being supported by healthcare professionals.

None of the cases appear to have been picked up locally in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, according to the States.

Dr Nicola Brink says Guernsey has prepared for Covid-19 "using World Health Organisation guidelines for managing a pandemic, that is you design your response so that it is specific to your local jurisdiction".

Guernsey included countries on its Group A and Group B lists for affected areas much sooner than Public Health England. We took into account our ageing demographic and the number who have holiday homes in France and Mainland Spain. This has allowed us to design a Bailiwick specific response. It is encouraging that our more cautious approach has resulted in us picking up these cases. As we face an increasingly difficult time, it is important that we continue to plan and adapt to ensure that our response is right for the Bailiwick. For example, we are able to increase the number of people in our Tracing Unit so we can manage the contacts around these new individual positive cases.

Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health Guernsey

Meanwhile the President of the Committee for Health and Social Care in Guernsey is urging islanders to "fight to protect the community" from Covid-19.

It is essential that people listen to the advice we are issuing regarding hand washing, social distancing and self-isolation. Now is the time for everyone to consider their behaviour and how this can impact on the more vulnerable members of our community and the older population. We only have one hospital and a small health and care infrastructure. The behaviour of our community will either protect that infrastructure or bring it to its knees. We cannot send patients off Island as UK hospitals are full. No single member of our hospital services team wants to be in a position where we are having to decide who to treat because of a lack of resources. Everyone absolutely must work with us and pull together as a community to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care
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