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Minister Ashford's Statement on COVID-19 - 18 April 2020

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Good afternoon, 

At our session today I am going to take you through some of the data that we have on the spread of COVID-19 across the Isle of Man. 

Government is sharing an increasing level of data on our testing and results for coronavirus, going back to the start of the pandemic and case number one in the Isle of Man. 

But first, to matters more solemn. 

We have been working over the last week to begin additional reporting around community deaths, which we will now update on a daily basis, but allowing for our internal standard operating procedures to be completed in relation to verification and cause of death. 

It is my sad duty therefore to advise that the Island’s death-toll from COVID-19 now stands at 6.  4 at Noble’s Hospital and now, sadly, two confirmed within the community. 

The total number of confirmed cases on the Island stands at 296. 

11 people are being treated in hospital. 

There have been 2,375 tests, 2,319 of which have been concluded. 

62 people are awaiting tests and 56 people are awaiting results. 

180 people are now presumed to have recovered from the virus. 

Issues around Covid 19 and care homes in the UK have been very much in the news this week. They are home to some of our most vulnerable citizens.  

It was particularly important from the start of the outbreak, that residents were shielded as far as possible, and the ‘lockdown’ meant a number of restrictions, including no visitors. 

Nonetheless, we are not immune to these issues. 

The public will be aware that there is a cluster of positive cases in a nursing home (37 as at the time of writing) in the South of the Island. The Department of Health and Social Care to assist with the care of residents have taken over the running of this home with effect from Monday late afternoon and we have members of our nursing, infection control, operational management and housekeeping tams supporting the existing staff on site.    

Families and staff have been updated on the actions of the department and will continue to be supported directly by DHSC throughout. At this time I am not able to comment any further regarding contractual matters with the registered provider.  

Returning to the figures themselves, we will report these figures separately, to ensure no undue impact on our modelling, which is crucial to understanding the spread of the virus in the community as a whole 

We will, of course, be crystal clear on the overall numbers of cases, wherever they occur. 

We need to understand where there are contained mini ‘clusters’. But we must also ensure we present a meaningful reflection of the extent of the virus among the Island’s population. 

Looking at new information coming from our contact tracing team, we are building a daily comprehensive picture across all active and passive contacts, and will be using this and specific detailed information to support our ongoing management of the virus spread on the Island.  

The first chart shows the age spread of individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus in the Isle of Man across age groups. 

Age range

As I have said on numerous occasions, the spread really is across the full spectrum of ages.  

It is interesting to note that the age bands under 65s have most positive test results, although the profile may change over the coming weeks and months. 

This isn’t a virus that just attacks the older members of society and shows why we all must heed Government advice and guidance.  

And that is, to stay indoors, save lives, and protect our health service. 

The next chart breaks down confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 by gender. A fairly even split but slightly more female at approximately 56% shown in the chart as 163 cases. 

gender of covid19 cases


I have been asked on number of occasions how this virus has affected our health workers and the following chart specifically shows this. You can see we have had 47 positive cases amongst our healthcare workers, 30 are active, 4 hospitalised and 13 that have been discharged or presumed recovered as we usually refer to this as. 

healthcare workers

And the final chart shows how the virus has been spread. The largest section as you can see is by close contact at 40% which again highlights the importance of social distancing.  

how covid19 spread

I think you will agree that this shows we must stay strong, this virus is indiscriminate of age or gender. Being a particular type of person will not protect you from contracting this virus.  

We are doing well in the circumstances but we must retain our discipline and adhere to the social distancing guidelines that are currently in place. 

If there is data you would like to see or access we will do our best to provide this, as long as it does not involve personal information.  

Finally the Saturday shout outs:  

A couple of business heroes to start with: 

  • Firstly Simon Niebhur of Iforium Limited who has donated 2,500 medical masks to care homes free  
  • plus Mathew Kneale, a manager at Capita who is supporting his staff while they work remotely but is also delivering food and picking up medications for any vulnerable members of his team.  
  • The Ambulance service who as well as their important work, have ensured we have plenty of PPE and have also facilitated bringing volunteer staff in to assist with ambulance maintainence. 

Next, from the public sector:  

The Housekeeping manager at Noble’s Judith Carey has been in touch to whole heartedly sing the praises of the NSC staff who have been redeployed to the hospital to assist the Housekeeping team during this challenging time. 

Jude says: our NSC colleagues have come into the hospital with enthusiasm and have got ‘stuck in’ without question or trepidation to work alongside our colleagues, they have not only taken on unfamiliar Housekeeping duties and tasks in unprecedented areas, but they have unwittingly boosted the morale of those around them.  

Our colleagues from the NSC deserve a massive ‘thank you’ for their on-going support, kindness and sheer commitment to helping not only the Housekeeping team but also our colleagues, patients, friends and family across the hospital during this time.  

Thank you and enjoy your weekend.