Saturday 28 November, 2020

UWI testing for COVID-19 expected soon

Testing for COVID-19 will be expanded in Trinidad and Tobago soon. The first site is set to be at the University of the West Indies’ Faculty of Medical Sciences which is located at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.

Dr Naresh Nandram, Principal Medical Officer, Epidemiology made the announcement at today’s daily virtual health briefing. He says the idea is to have all major hospitals running as test sites. 

“The testing site in collaboration with UWI, the equipment is already there, we are in the final stage of verification, I think that should hopefully be complete by today,” he said. 

According to Health Minister, Terrence Deyalsingh, the second local laboratory could be housed in the South West Regional Health Authority. He says machinery has been set up there too, but there’s been a delay with getting supplies in order to get the process started. 

“The keep back was that there was a trade embargo, we could not get the test kits out of the United States, because there was an embargo. I am happy to report that we will be receiving 4,000 test kits that will go to South West, but I can’t give you a firm time,” Deyalsingh explained. 

The Minister added that his next move is to set up point of care testing in Tobago. He admitted that due to the international supply chain disruptions, Tobago may come on stream even before the South West’s testing site is set up, but promised that both will be done regardless. 

Dr Nandram relayed that the government’s efforts are a move for independence in order to lessen the strain on the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). 

“Trinidad and Tobago is looking to wean off that sole dependency and collaborate instead with CARPHA to establish and expand our own national testing capacity,” he said. 

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