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Posted: Saturday 2 October, 2021 at 10:55 AM

COVID-19 challenges led to backlog in testing

By: Staff Reporter,

    Quarantined individuals waiting weeks for follow-up tests


    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -- RISING cases of the Coronavirus in the Federation and the lack of capacity at the Joseph N France General Hospital have forced the Government to put a halt on follow-up tests for people who are in quarantine. 


    SKNVibes has learnt that a number of individuals have been waiting for over a week for their exit test results in order to leave the quarantine facility.


    There has reportedly been a backlog of results for those persons who were in contact with individuals who had tested positive for the virus, which is due to the fact that the Government’s testing facility at the JNF Hospital has been out of service for several days.


    When asked wether or not the Goernment had put an halt to testing, Medical Chief-of-Staff Dr. Cameron Wilkinson did not directly address the question, but stated that the Federation is currently going through a wave which has compounded the challenge the Ministry of Health is currently experiencing.


    He was at the time addressing media representatives at Wednesday’s (Sept. 29) NEOC media brief.


    Dr. Wilkinson further stated, “…we are taking care of the backlog, so very soon we will be back on track.”


    What have proven to be a tedious task for health officials in the Federation are the number of positive cases, their immediate contacts and exit tests for persons who are in quarantine, as well as Nevis Samples and outbound travellers.


    According to Dr. Wilkinson, the machine at the hospital is expected to be functional “very soon”. .


    On Nevis, there seemingly is a challenge as a newly purchased PCR Testing Machine is not yet operational, and Minister of Health Akilah Byron-Nisbett told Parliament that the island would shortly be undertaking its own tests.


    Many persons have begun voicing their concerns over the Ministry of Health’s slothfulness in testing and releasing of results. 


    In fact, health officials had explained at the Prime Minister’s recently held press conference that there are more than 8,000 samples to be tested in a 24 span, and the labs could only do varying numbers on a daily basis. 


    Between September 1-25, a total of 8,431 tests were carried out during a six-day work week among three labs.
    The Medical Chief-of-Staff told reporters that the Next Generation Medical Laboratory has a  capacity to test 150 to 300 samples per day, and that it had undertaken 6,753.


    Avalon Medical Laboratory undertook 1,500 samples with a capacity to run 20 to 40 tests per day, while the Quality Diagnostic Laboratory (QDL) had a capacity for eight to 12 tests per day and QDL ran 178 samples.


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