Saturday 28 November, 2020

CARPHA: No backlog in COVID-19 test results

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has denied claims of a backlog in COVID-19 test results.

Its defence follows an explanation provided by local health authorities for the recent uptick in virus cases, many of which were classified as not representative of cases from the previous 24-hour period.

CARPHA in a statement said its turnaround time for COVID-19 testing is consistent with the fact that there are no pending test results.

The Agency said it has delivered results to the various Chief Medical Officers across the region within 24-48 hours of receipt of the specimens since February when testing commenced.

To date, it said, there has not been a single instance of samples with more than a 48 hour from reception at CARPHA and pending results.

CARPHA explained that any delay in the delivery of test results could adversely affect efforts to flatten the curve.

“Backlogs and prolonged wait times can complicate efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.

A delay in test results can mean a setback for public health authorities to decide on a course of action - to implement contact tracing, provide appropriate care and guidance, or to inform someone that they have not contracted the virus.

CARPHA is determined not to delay the time it takes for people to get their results, and consequently, the CMML does not retain possession of backlogs in its facilities.”

Dr Gabriel M. Gonzalez-Escobar, Head of Laboratory Services and Networks at CARPHA said the agency has been working to ensure there is no backlog for tests or pending results.

He assured that CARPHA adheres to “good laboratory practices that produce accurate results”.

He said: “We know that timely reporting of laboratory results is important as it can make a difference to Member States.”

“The CMML remains committed to delivering prompt COVID-19 results to the Region. In the case of the COVID-19 laboratory emergency response, once a sample is received from a designated national public health laboratory, we issue the result within 24-48 hours,” Dr Escobar continued.

The CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML) conducts tests for suspected COVID-19 cases for 18 of its 26 Member States.

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