On Tuesday 03 May two positive COVID-19 test results were returned following routine testing of new arrivals currently under compulsory isolation measures. As a consequence of the positive test results, the Ascension COVID-19 Response Level has been escalated to Level 2 ORANGE. This escalation is in line with the Response Level Protocol.
Under Level 2 ORANGE measures, public venues and facilities remain open. As it is expected that the introduction of COVID-19 into the wider community has not occurred, this escalation is a precautionary measure and serves to ensure that a higher level of alertness is observed by authorities on the island and the general public.
Members of the public should continue to practise good cough and hand hygiene, and be alert to the development of any potential COVID-19 symptoms.
When additional testing confirms negative results and the Senior Medical Officer is satisfied that there is no longer a COVID-19 presence on the island, the Response Level will return to Level 1 AMBER.
Further information regarding this matter will be made available to the public in the coming days.
As ever, anyone who develops a new persistent dry cough, a fever or experiences unexpected shortness of breath should go home, self-isolate and telephone Georgetown Hospital on 66252 for further advice.
The individuals in question arrived at Ascension on Tuesday 03 May 2022 on a vessel from Canada.
The individuals currently have mild symptoms but are otherwise well. As they arrived on a vessel, they have been directed to remain there and isolate from the other members of crew on board. Authorities remain in contact with the ship’s crew and the positive cases will have their conditions monitored by medical staff.
The staff at Georgetown Hospital remain in constant liaison with experts in the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to ensure that the individuals who tested positive receive appropriate support. Further testing will take place over the coming days to monitor their levels of infection, and to confirm whether any further transmission has taken place on board.
This is a scenario that AIG had planned and prepared for. Robust measures for effectively managing arrivals to Ascension have been in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These protocols have been developed in liaison with experts from the UKHSA and are designed to ensure that any person arriving at the island is kept separate from the general public until the Senior Medical Officer can be assured that they do not pose a risk of introducing COVID-19 into the community.
As a result, the individuals who tested positive have not had any contact with the wider public. Authorities are therefore confident that the virus has been effectively contained and so has not been spread to others in the community.
Are members of the public at risk?
AIG has planned and prepared for this scenario, and robust protocols are in place to manage all arrivals to Ascension. These have been designed in liaison with experts in the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to ensure that the risk posed to the island by those arriving from affected areas is reduced to the lowest level possible.
The positive cases arrived by sea and have remained on board at all times, both before and since their positive results.
However, members of the public are encouraged to be on a heightened state of alert until the Response Level returns to Level 1 AMBER and to continue to practise good hand and cough hygiene.
When will the Response Level return to Level 1 AMBER?
The Response Level will be de-escalated once testing has determined that the individuals no longer pose a threat to the wider community. Further testing will be conducted over the coming days, and the Response Level may be reduced as a result of these tests.
Where and when were the cases identified?
The cases were identified on Tuesday 03 May 2022 in two individuals who arrived on an aggregate delivery vessel that day.
What about the other people on the vessel with them?
Whilst all other members of the crew returned a negative test result, as the positive crew members have aboard the same vessel during their journey here, further testing of all of the crew will take place in the coming days. In the meantime, the positive persons have been instructed to isolate away from others on board. Due to the positive results, nobody from the vessel has been cleared to land ashore.