On Friday 18 March, an individual observing compulsory isolation measures returned a positive COIVD-19 test result during routine testing of persons under quarantine. In line with Ascension’s COVID-19 policies and procedures, the individual was monitored by medical staff and subject to additional testing 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 Wednesday 16 March on a flight from the USA. They had previously returned a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test result ahead of travelling to Ascension. As with all persons under quarantine, they were subject to testing as part of their isolation protocols. On Friday 18 March they then returned a positive result.
At that time Ascension was already at Level 2 ORANGE of the COVID-19 Response Level Protocol due to a positive result being identified on Tuesday 08 March in another person observing compulsory isolation. These two cases were not related, and were identified in individuals who had recently arrived on separate flights from different COVID-19 affected areas.
Tests conducted over the weekend and on Monday 28 March on the positive individual identified on 18 March 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.
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 UK Health Security Agency (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.
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.