Government, Press Release
On Wednesday 19 January, an individual observing compulsory isolation measures returned a positive COIVD-19 test result during routine testing of persons under quarantine. In line with AIGs COVID-19 policies and procedures, the individual was subject to additional testing every 48 hours to confirm the level of their infection.
Further testing conducted on the individual this week has returned multiple negative results and as such they are no longer deemed to be infectious or a risk to others. They have therefore had their period of compulsory isolation ended and the Ascension COVID-19 Response Level has been reduced to Level 1 AMBER.
As with previous escalations of the Response Level, AIG will review the Response Level Protocol in light of this escalation and will report any changes to the protocol that result from this.
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 individual in question had arrived at Ascension on Sunday 09 January on a flight from the UK. They had previously returned negative COVID-19 test results following their arrival at the island. As with all persons under quarantine, they were subject to testing as part of quarantine protocols ahead of being granted permission to exit isolation, at which point a positive result was returned.
As they were observing compulsory isolation in a bubble, the other persons in that bubble were required to observe further compulsory isolation and were subject to ongoing testing by medical staff.
The result of subsequent tests conducted on the previously positive individual on Wednesday 26 January and today, Friday 28 January, returned negative results. Given these negative results the Senior Medical Officer is satisfied that there is no risk to the public from the previously positive individual. The other individuals quarantining in the same bubble as the positive case had their compulsory isolation length reset following the return of the positive result, and were subject to ongoing testing as well as exit testing at the end of their period of isolation.
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 Public Health England 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.
Even though the individual that tested positive had not had any contact with the wider public, and therefore COVID-19 was contained, the level of risk to Ascension from COVID-19 had increased and as a result the response level was raised. Following the negative test result and confirmation that the threat from COVID-19 had reduced, the response level was returned to Level 1 AMBER.
Is it safe for this individual to be released?
The protocols in place in Ascension have been designed in liaison with experts in UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) 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.
The test results have been analysed by the Senior Medical Officer. They are satisfied that the lack of virus mean that the persons in question are non-infectious. As a result, they do not pose a risk to the public.
What about the other people who were on the plane with them?
All those who arrived on the same plane were subject to compulsory isolation and testing protocols. Authorities are assured that these protocols remain robust, and as such the other passengers were permitted to exit quarantine following the completion of their isolation period and the return of negative COVID-19 test results.
What about the other people in their quarantine bubble?
Following the return of the positive result, the other members of their bubble had their quarantine lengths reset. This is because the last known point at which they may have been exposed to COVID-19 infection had now changed. They were monitored by medical staff throughout their additional isolation period and were subject to ongoing testing, including prior to their release from isolation.