New COVID-19 instrument should speed up test results
St Vincent and the Grenadines is now better equipped to process Covid-19 tests locally, through the procurement of an automatic extractor – a piece of equipment that is geared at increasing the speed of testing results.
This was disclosed by Minister of Health, St Clair Prince on Tuesday January 26 at a virtual press conference held by Health officials here to update the nation on matters relating to Covid-19.
Prince said the new instrument will significantly improve the testing capacity, and added that “a team of biomedical engineers, IT professionals and laboratory technologists here are remotely engaged with a specialist team to undergo the requisite training and subsequent installation of this instrument, given the current travel restrictions due to Covid-19”. The instrument is expected to become operational by the end of this week.
According to the Health Minister, four technologists from Cuba will join the technologist team here at the Molecular Laboratory Unit (MLU) in an effort to bolster capacity at the laboratory.
“Early detection is key”, the Health Minister emphasized and revealed that so far over 30,000 PCR samples have been processed. Additionally, Prince indicated that they have “moved from home quarantine to partial tourism approved hotels and home quarantine to full tourism approved hotels for quarantine”.
The Health Minister said that government decided to increase the isolation centers, since it was deemed necessary due to a number of persons’ inability to home quarantine and isolate effectively while recovering from Covid-19. He said there are now 25 additional self-contained rooms that will serve as isolation facilities.
Meantime, Minister Prince has highlighted that two local private laboratories Sigma and CRL have indicated their willingness to perform rapid antigen tests for exit screening, catering to persons travelling to the United States. So far, there is one private lab with the approved capacity to do PCR tests for clearance exit screening.
Minister Prince urged persons to continue to wear masks and stressed that “everyone must be advocates of the protocols”.
He further added that “everyone has to be on board in order to fight this pandemic”.