A new local Covid-19 PCR testing programme is being launched in a number of Jersey pharmacies this week, enabling Islanders to get tested for Covid-19 in a clinical setting. This is a new independent local testing service supplementing the Covid-19 antibody testing scheme that was launched in several community pharmacies in June this year.
The pharmacy Covid-19 PCR tests, which will be priced at £175 per test for adults and children of any age, will be undertaken by qualified health professionals in pharmacy clinic rooms via a combined throat and nasal swab – with results available within 72 hours. The cost of the test includes the Covid-19 PCR test itself, the administration of the test by a qualified pharmacy team, express courier of the test to a dedicated lab in the UK, lab analysis, and issuance of results via a pharmacy stamped certification and lab certification available in email or stamped hard copy format for two way verification.
The PCR testing within local pharmacies is intended only for individuals not presenting any active Covid-19 symptoms. Anybody who is suspected of being actively infected should not enter pharmacy premises and should instead be directed to the Government of Jersey Covid-19 hotline and follow the advice.
LV Pharmacy, which is leading the initiative and sourcing the test kits from an approved, accredited and recognised manufacturer in the UK, is managing the distribution of PCR test kits to participating pharmacies locally and collating all patient data obtained with consent. This Summer, LV Pharmacy became the first pharmacy in the whole of the UK to facilitate a Covid-19 community pharmacy antibody testing service by bringing multiple pharmacies together to offer their patients increased accessibility to testing and enhancing continuity of care within the community.
Matt Johnson, Head of LV Pharmacy and spearheading the initiative, commented: “Increased access to PCR testing for Covid-19 in Jersey will not only give Islanders more confidence returning to work, travelling off island or perhaps visiting those deemed vulnerable, it will also contribute to a wider indication as to who on the Island is currently infected with Covid-19. If somebody is identified as having an active Covid-19 virus in their system, they can be isolated and get in touch with people they’ve been in close contact with so they can be quarantined too to help minimise the spread. That’s the true advantage of diagnostic testing, you can break the chain of transmission and get a clearer idea of what’s happening; which in a small Island community like Jersey is extremely important.”
Matt also explained the importance of Covid-19 testing in Island businesses returning to work: “A crucial component for many local businesses to get back up and running will be the testing of employees to identify whether or not they show active signs of Covid-19, and as a safety measure prior to undertaking business travel off island. Several businesses have contacted us saying that increased access to testing will help them reduce disease transmissions in the workplace, as well as allay worker’s fears in returning to work meaning they can get their operations back up and running in line with Government guidelines as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Nick Bettany, CEO of LV Care Group added: “We are proud to lead a Covid-19 PCR testing initiative like this in Jersey following the challenges people and businesses are facing as a result of the pandemic. The Government of Jersey are doing a fantastic job in testing key workers, those arriving onto the Island via the Ports and those with active signs of the virus, and we want to augment their efforts and widen the capacity for testing people in a clinical environment who don’t meet the current criteria.”
The same seven pharmacy sites in Jersey that signed up to the antibody testing have signed up to the PCR testing in their consultancy rooms including LV Pharmacy on Beresford Street, Queens Road Pharmacy on Queens Road, and Reids Pharmacies on New Street, Charing Cross, Longueville, the Lido Medical Centre and Bagatelle Road. Any local pharmacy in Jersey can sign up to participate.