Government, Press Release
On Sunday 31 July, Ascension’s COVID-19 protocols and procedures will undergo significant change. Travellers will no longer be required to observe quarantine following their arrival, or be required to take pre-departure or arrival testing.
This means that from Sunday all arrivals will mix freely with the public, and that the island will begin to register cases of COVID-19 in the community. In doing so the island will transition from a state of working to keep COVID-19 out of the community, to managing it as a community infection much like other common viruses.
To ensure that members of the public are prepared for these changes, new guidance has been issued to help explain what now will and will not be expected of everyone. The guidance is available through the AIG website, as well as through your employer.
The guidance provides information on what you can do to help slow the spread of the virus, what to do if you think you have COVID-19 and what is expected of you if you test positive.
What do I need to do?
All members of the public are strongly encouraged to make sure that they are prepared for these changes coming into effect. Given Ascension’s extremely high-levels of vaccination, the removal of quarantine is likely to be initially disruptive at a community level rather than pose a significant risk to most individuals. However, taking the above steps and making sure you understand the new rules will help to ensure that each person is as prepared as they can be to manage this change.
Further information and guidance on other issues related to the changes is available through Georgetown Hospital or your employer.
How do I go about arranging a test if I think I might have COVID-19?
If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection then you should arrange to take a test as soon as possible. Where you get tested will be based on where you live and who your employer is.
If you live on one of the military bases testing will need to be arranged through your base medical centre. RAF base staff should telephone 66310 and USAF base staff should telephone 62224.
Anyone that does not live on a military base will need to arrange testing through Georgetown Hospital on 66252.
What happens if I test positive?
If you test positive you will be advised to isolate, given several home test kits and provided with an information pack to take away with you. The guidance is also available online through www.ascension.gov.ac/public-document/living-with-COVID-19. The pack will include advice on how to monitor your own health, what is expected of you whilst you isolate and what process to follow to end your isolation.
Given other people might be positive but not yet identified, should I be going to work?
Although the risk of COVID-19 to vaccinated adults is now low, employers want to ensure that large numbers of their employees do not catch COVID-19 at once and need to isolate, less it significantly disrupts each organisation’s ability to continue operating.
Employers will therefore be implementing their own adaptions to working environments when quarantine requirements are removed. You should speak to your employer now to understand what these are likely to look like, and how your daily activities are likely to change.
Someone in my household / accommodation has tested positive, should I isolate?
Only those who test positive themselves are expected isolate. If someone in your household or accommodation has tested positive, you can take some reasonable steps to help prevent you catching COVID-19.
This can include ventilating the property with open windows and doors, masking indoors when and regularly washing your hands. If you begin to show signs of COVID-19 infection yourself then, in line with guidance, you should seek a test from Georgetown Hospital or one of the military base medical centres.
My employer says I’m a critical worker so I might be able to come to work despite testing positive?
As a small working island it is vital that critical services and business functions continue to operate during the initial transition period. As such, if workers who deliver critical functions test positive for COVID-19 but are otherwise well enough to work, their employer may request that they attend the workplace and continue working. This will be done in a risk assessed way to help minimise the chance that they pass on COVID-19 others.