Members of the public who have a positive lateral flow test result or symptoms of coronavirus are being urged to stay home, self-isolate and be patient when calling 111.
The 111 team is currently dealing with a large influx of calls, many from people who have used the lateral flow device (LFD) COVID-19 home test kits and wish to report a positive result. The advice to callers who cannot get through is to hang up and try again later - rather than wait on the line or make repeated calls.
In the meantime those with a positive result or symptoms should self-isolate and be patient – as the team works through a large volume of calls and cases.
Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said:
‘I understand that this is a frustrating situation for many people, and would ask for your understanding at this time of high demand. Our 111 team is very busy at present. If you can’t get through when you call, there is no need to worry – the important thing if your LFD test is positive or you have symptoms of coronavirus, is to stay home and prevent the spread of the virus. The team will get to you, but it may take a day or so in the current circumstances.
‘There is no point holding on for lengthy periods of time. If you can’t get through, call again later – that’s the sensible approach to reduce demand in the system and lessen your frustration.’
The distribution of lateral flow home test kits this week has contributed to the demand on 111. The kits are available at community pharmacies around the Island for close contacts of those who have tested positive.
Members of the public are urged to act responsibly and not request a kit unless they are a close contact, or are collecting a kit on behalf of a close contact.
One pack of seven LFD tests is the maximum that can be given to an individual, but despite that being the clear message from the start, a minority of people continue to demand multiple kits.
While it is appreciated that the current situation is causing some delays and frustration, it is imperative that the public treat pharmacy staff and the 111 team with courtesy and respect. Rude and demanding behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
No one should attempt to stockpile home test lateral flow kits, which are to support the community living with COVID-19. Further supplies are due to arrive in the Island early next week for close contacts, with kits being offered to the wider public when supplies allow.