The first case of COVID-19 was identified in the community at the end of last week, when it was identified after an individual tested positive on a travel swab. It is thought the person picked up the virus when they last travelled abroad, and had not previously tested positive due to being asymptomatic. The individual has been undergoing self-isolation since testing positive, as have their level one contacts.
We asked the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Rebecca Edwards why this case was not picked up, either before returning to the Falkland Islands or during quarantine, and she sent us this response:
“The reason why they did not test positive is likely due to them being over the acute infection by the point at which they were swabbed. It is important to note that once over the acute infection people can then test negative/positive [repeatedly] for many months – the virus they shed and that is detected on PCR testing is a non-infectious, but still detectable from time to time.”
We also asked the CMO if there are concerns that Covid could be spreading in the community, to which she said the following:
“We have recently undertaken some antibody screening on our population – we are hoping to look at vaccine antibody levels. The same samples were also used to look for evidence of Covid infection – all were negative apart from the people we knew had, had Covid, so we can be confident we have not had Covid.”